England 2023 World Cup squad '60% different' says head coach Eddie Jones

By Chris JonesBBC rugby union correspondent
Eddie Jones (centre) guided England to the World Cup final, which they lost to South Africa
Eddie Jones (centre) guided England to the 2019 World Cup final, which they lost to South Africa

England head coach Eddie Jones says his squad for the next Rugby World Cup could be '60% different' from the one that reached the final in 2019.

It was announced last week that Jones has signed a contract extension through to the 2023 tournament in France.

And the 60-year-old is expecting considerable change to the set-up between now and then.

"I don't think this group can have another World Cup in them," Jones admitted to BBC Sport.

"While there will be core members of the team who will be able to continue to the next World Cup, there will be a new influx of members coming in."

Jones' selection strategy for the World Cup in Japan saw him dispense with a swathe of experience close to the tournament, with stalwarts such as Mike Brown, Danny Care and Chris Robshaw missing out and regular captain Dylan Hartley also not involved.

And while the team beaten by South Africa was the youngest to reach a World Cup final, many of the key players - for example Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Owen Farrell and Jonny May - will be into their 30s come 2023, while the likes of Ben Youngs and Courtney Lawes will be 34.

"If you look at the squad this year we have changed it by 20%," Jones added. "There will be another 20% change in the second year, and another 20% in the third year.

"By the time we get to the World Cup [in 2023] it could be 40% of the squad from the 2019 World Cup and 60% new members."

Jones will now look to discover new players of the calibre of young flankers Tom Curry and Sam Underhill, who made their debuts only two years before excelling in 2019.

"That's how you get the growth in the team," Jones continued. "You have to continually look for better players and players who can add value to the team.

"We were the youngest team ever to play in a World Cup final, so if those players have the desire and want to keep working and improving then we are going to be in a good position because we are going to have a hell of a competition for spots."

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