Eddie Jones names mixture of youth and experience to face Barbarians - but Elliot Daly ruled out with leg issue

Jake Goodwill
·8-min read
England's coach Eddie Jones looks on during an England rugby training session in Twickenham, greater London on October 17, 2020. - AFP
England's coach Eddie Jones looks on during an England rugby training session in Twickenham, greater London on October 17, 2020. - AFP

Elliot Daly's fitness has emerged as a concern for England as they step up preparations for Sunday's curtain raiser to the autumn against the Barbarians.

Daly has been ruled out of the non-cap international at Twickenham because of a long-standing leg issue that requires closer examination, resulting in his omission from Eddie Jones' 32-man training squad.

Also missing is Joe Marler, whose knee problem will take at least another two weeks to heal, meaning he will sit out the Barbarians clash and climax to the 2020 Six Nations against Italy six days later when England are playing for the title.

"Elliot has had a bump on his leg for a good period of time. It hasn't really worried him and he's been able to train," Jones said.

"We're not sure what's wrong so we're going to get some tests done and we'll wait and see what the answer is. I'd rather not say which part of his leg it is, let's just wait and see.

"We'll do all the various tests and he'll see a consultant and then we'll have a pretty good idea of where he's at."

Jones has indicated he will select a strong side against the Barbarians, using it as a warm-up for the trip to Rome knowing that a number of players - including his influential Saracens contingent - have not played since October 4.

Marler will be missing, however, as the Harlequins prop rehabilitates a condition called Morel-Lavallee that requires fluid to be drained from the knee.

England squad to face the Barbarians
England squad to face the Barbarians

"Joe is coming along really well. He's maybe another two or three weeks away from being available for selection, but he's come in and added to the camp and is his usual effervescent self," Jones said.

Jones names his team to face the Barbarians on Friday, adopting a different approach to the usual policy of picking a younger side for a fixture that was postponed from May because of the coronavirus epidemic.

"It's a lot different this year. We've got a number of players who haven't played for four or five weeks," Jones said.

"We're conscious of the fact we've got the Six Nations game afterwards, so we're looking at this as a two-week selection, getting players ready for Italy and also being right to play against the Barbarians.

"The training camps have been excellent. All the players and staff are conscious of their responsibility. It's been a tough time for the country.

"A lot of people have lost their jobs and a lot of people have had losses to their family. We're conscious of our responsibility to put a smile on people's faces.

"The attitude in the camp has been first class and this week we move into Test match preparation for the Barbarians so things are a bit more serious and we're knuckling down to prepare for a game."

Piers Francis has returned to the England squad having recovered from coronavirus.

The Northampton back was picked in Jones' first squad of the autumn earlier this month but was forced to withdraw and self-isolate after testing positive for Covid-19 as result of playing Sale on September 29.

Tom de Glanville's hopes of making his England debut in the non-cap international at Twickenham have been dashed following his omission from the 32 who will gather at their training base in south west London.

09:40 AM

That's all the live reaction from me

But there will in-depth analysis of the England squad across Telegraph Sport shortly.

09:25 AM

Squad recap:

Piers Francis has been included in England's 32-man training squad having recovered from coronavirus.

The Northampton centre was picked in Eddie Jones' first squad of the autumn earlier this month but was forced to withdraw and self-isolate after testing positive for Covid-19 as result of playing Sale on September 29.

Tom de Glanville has been omitted from the 32.

09:21 AM

Confirmation: Tom Curry is in the squad and available to face the Barbarians

His name was missed off the website by accident, it turns out.

09:15 AM

Eddie Jones on the Barbarians match:

“This is important game for us and we’re looking forward to getting back to Twickenham and playing rugby.

 

“We’ve had two really good camps, going back to basics and how we want to play.  The Barbarians squad has a rich blend of talent, so this week we’ll be testing ourselves under pressure and looking to take our game to the next level.”

09:10 AM

There is some confusion over Tom Curry's availability for this weekend

He is named in the image shared by England rugby, but not on the squad list on the website... 

09:08 AM

Elliot Daly is unavailable for the Barbarians match

As is Joe Marler, or will continue with his 'reconditioning', whatever that means.

09:05 AM

Overall squad impression

It looks a very strong squad to face the Barbarians - with reinforcements from Exeter, Wasps and Bristol to come for later matches.

Ben Spencer remains the main omission at this stage.

With Manu Tuilagi injured, the battle for the 13 jersey will be fascinating. Jonathan Joseph, Joe Marchant and Ollie Lawrence all named in this 32-man squad with Henry Slade to join the team at some point.

09:02 AM

Still no Ben Spencer...

George Furbank is back involved, as is Piers Francis.

09:00 AM

England squad announced:

08:56 AM

Here is a reminder of England's upcoming autumn schedule

England's autumn fixtures
England's autumn fixtures

08:50 AM

A number of exciting youngsters have been involved with England this week

None more so than Ollie Lawrence. The Worcester centre is a special talent who combines pace and power with intelligent running lines.

Lawrence was often too hot to handle for Premiership sides last season, but is he ready for international rugby?

England's Ollie Lawrence takes part in an England rugby training session in Twickenham in London on October 17, 2020. - AFP
England's Ollie Lawrence takes part in an England rugby training session in Twickenham in London on October 17, 2020. - AFP

08:43 AM

Ben Spencer was the big omission last time around

The in-form scrum-half was not called up while a number of his Bath colleagues were. It seems an odd decision.

Spencer has an excellent kicking game, good basic skills, brings control, is very quick, has plenty of club experience and can even kick at goal if required.

Ben Youngs has not been at his best for a little while and Spencer, now 28, along with Dan Robson, seem primed to take over the nine shirt between them.

Will Eddie include him today?

08:37 AM

Here is a look at the most recent training squad from a few days ago

Forwards

Tom Curry, Alex Dombrandt*, Tom Dunn*, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Joe Heyes*, Ted Hill, Maro Itoje, Simon Kerrod*, Beno Obano*, David Ribbans*, Billy Vunipola, Mark Wilson.

Backs

Ali Crossdale*, Elliot Daly, Tom de Glanville*, Fraser Dingwall*, Owen Farrell, George Ford, Willi Heinz, Ollie Lawrence*, Joe Marchant, Jonny May, Alex Mitchell*, Ollie Thorley*, Ben Youngs.

Reconditioning

Charlie Ewels, Jonathan Joseph, Joe Marler, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill, Mako Vunipola, Anthony Watson

* denotes uncapped player

Will there be many new faces added to this squad? Or will the reconditioning players just be added fully into preparations?

08:25 AM

Good morning, another intriguing Eddie Jones selection awaits

Eddie Jones will announce his England squad to take on the Barbarians as part of their preparation for a busy Autumn campaign.

The England coach will be unable to select players who are involved in the Premiership final - which takes place the day before. However, due to the positive coronavirus tests at Wasps, Bristol players will also be unavailable in case they are called upon, meaning Jones has nine sides to pick from.

For the Barbarians, Chris Robshaw will play against England in his last match before heading to play in the United States. There are 11 Saracens in the squad including Richard Wigglesworth, Sean Maitland, Jackson Wray and Manu Vunipola. The Barbarians are being coached by Vern Cotter, the current Fiji coach, and unsurprisingly seven Fijians will also be involved.

England have been in training camp at the Lensbury over the past two weeks with the squad changing depending on the availability of club players. 

They have formed a biosecure bubble to protect the players against Covid-19. Of the unusual situation the players find themselves in Jones said:

“Togetherness is about the players driving it, the senior players, particularly. We’ve tried to make the environment as friendly as we can but it’s a balance between hard work and enjoyment. The task is always to get that right. The staff have done a fantastic job setting up the Lensbury. I think we’re well-equipped to handle what’s ahead of us.

“As the circumstances are a bit different we need to be aware of that and take it into consideration of how we structure the team environment. We will make sure we have the necessary support. But they also have to understand how grateful they should be for their opportunity to play for England and play sport at the top level. The world is in a difficult situation and they have a great opportunity to play rugby and represent England and I expect them to be full of beans and ready to go."