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Eddie Jones answers 13 questions on his squad announcement

At the end of last week England head coach Eddie Jones named his 36-man squad for the autumn internationals.

The squad will head to Portugal for a pre-series training camp in preparation for the first match of the schedule against South Africa. Here we ask Jones about players who will be on the plane and players left at home.

…wrapping Billy Vunipola in cotton wool until the World Cup

“I only have him for nine weeks between now and July. In that time, we will look after him like he is the king’s baby. The rest of the time it is Sarries’ responsibility and they look after their players well. We trust them to do a great job.”

…his ringing endorsement from RFU chief executive Steve Brown, and whether he is serious about being out of a job if he loses in the Autumn?

“Joking…I just do my job to the best of my ability with my assistant coaches.”

…why he selected Chris Ashton?

“He’s a try scorer, he’s a brilliant support player and he’s hungry. Apart from Owen Farrell, I don’t think I’ve seen a hungrier player for England. The fact he’s turned down whatever he was getting paid in Toulon because he wants to play at the World Cup is a great example. We don’t have that many good support players. With his infectious attitude, it’s a no brainer to have him in the squad.”

…Ashton’s disciplinary record

“They’re isolated incidents. He gets in a bit of a rage, but as you get older you learn to control that. I thought his last ban was unlucky, but that’s the way the game is at the moment. The game has become so tight on foul play. I’m not saying it’s wrong, but you’ve got to be careful about the way you behave.”

…Elliot Daly continuing at full-back?

“At this stage yes.”

…Alex Goode’s omission

“He is not on the radar at this stage. He is a really good player but he does not fit the mould of what I want there.”

Not on the radar: Saracens full-back Alex Goode (Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images)

…Carl Fearns being available to England under ‘exceptional circumstances’?

“He doesn’t want to play. If he wanted to play he would come back to England. Look at what Chris Ashton did. He answered his own question. Players select or de-select themselves.”

…will there be any Freddie Burns showboating warnings to the squad?

“If necessary yes. I haven’t seen that necessity yet. But if necessary we will.”

…whether he sees Owen Farrell at 10 now for good?

“I see him as an even number.”

…whether Ford-Farrell at 10-12 is still his preferred option?

“No it is still a possibility. It is still a possibility in a number of games. But there is also a possibility that Owen will play at 10 and also a possibility that George will play at 10 and Owen will play at 12.

It depends on a number of factors, who is available in the centres, what sort of opposition we are playing against, what sort of attack we want to play, how many momentum runners have we got?”

…why Elliott Stooke and Charlie Ewels are ahead of Dave Attwood?

“Stooke is a line-out caller and jumper and we don’t have too many of those with Launchbury out. The only other caller we have is Kruis who is our number one caller. Maro is a part-time caller, he doesn’t call for his club, and so we needed to have another caller and Charlie Ewels is another caller. Stooke is a good aggressive young lock. We want someone who comes in the squad as that fifth lock to bring that raw aggression. Attwood is a handy player.”

…why he left out Dan Cole?

“He’s got a bit of work to do on his game, 100 per cent. Schonert’s a young guy coming through, a reasonable scrummager with a good attitude. We want to see how far we can develop him. Hopefully Coley keeps working on his game and gets ready for the Six Nations and then he can go to the World Cup.”

…whether he stayed up to 1am for the Nathan Hughes verdict?

“No, I took a gamble there and wasn’t that confident. I wouldn’t have bet on him getting clear on BetFred, mate. Are they the sponsor? Do we have a betting sponsor? Oh – you can’t bet on rugby, there you go.”

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