England’s Jones ready to wield axe

LONDON (AFP) – Eddie Jones has told England to expect a radical overhaul before the next Rugby World Cup despite reaching the final in Japan last November.

England fielded the youngest side in a World Cup final when they were were beaten 32-12 by South Africa.

However, the likes of current senior players such as captain Owen Farrell, Mako Vunipola, Jamie George and Jonny May will be into their 30s by the time of the 2023 edition in France swings around.

But rising stars such as Ben Earl and Gabriel Ibitoye will still be in their mid-20s.

Jones was unafraid to discard senior players in the run-up to last year’s global showpiece in Japan, with the 60-year-old Australian ditching several veterans including former captain Chris Robshaw, scrum-half Danny Care and hooker Dylan Hartley, who had been captain and then co-skipper with Farrell.

Jones told the BBC on Monday the 2023 squad could feature a difference of as much as a 60 per cent difference in personnel compared to the one he selected for Japan.

“I don’t think this group can have another World Cup in them,” said Jones.

“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.”