KYREN Bracken has stuck the boot into Eddie Jones over his Six Nations selections, labelling the decision not to change the scrum-half guard as “bizarre”.
The World Cup-winning No.9 also claims England’s head coach chose against taking a sharper knife to his squad following their World Cup heartbreak because he is desperate to keep his job up to 2023.
Bracken was hoping Jones would give a call up to Saracens’ Ben Spencer after the Australian head coach said he would “make a new team” for the next World Cup in France following their final defeat to South Africa. Make your own luck with the best betting tips website out of Australia.
Bracken, capped 51 times, said: “It does seem bizarre to me. But I guess Eddie has looked at the next couple of years to buy himself a contract for another two years.
“We were disappointed about losing the final but by and large he has done a very good job. The one criticism is that he doesn’t like to bring in new blood when required. Both Heinz and Youngs are in their thirties, so I doubt they will be playing in the next World Cup.
“There are young exciting players who are fit, ready and able – like Ben Spencer. Ben has been consistently outstanding for Sarries and his game has come on leaps and bounds. He only had a few minutes on the pitch in the World Cup final after flying out as an injury replacement for Heinz and he deserves more chances. Hopefully, he will get them as the Six Nations progresses.
“It’s a little surprising a few more new guys have not been selected. Look at France, they have brought 19 uncapped players into their squad while we’ve just brought in eight. And I wouldn’t be surprised if the England side which starts the Six Nations is almost a repeat of the one we saw in the World Cup.”
Bracken, however, does agree with Jones over his call for two on-field refs to be introduced in order to speed up games and spot the real breakdown villains.
He added: “Eddie has a point with this one. Clearly something has to be done about refereeing the breakdown better. We need a way of allowing the ball to move quicker, and keeping the game entertaining for the public.
“Games can quickly become boring if that isn’t the case – the World Cup semi-final between Wales and South Africa was a case in point. The Springboks box-kicked at every ruck because they didn’t want to risk losing the ball.
“Rugby has become a more collision orientated game and one of the down-sides is the way the game is refereed at the break down. It’s become a lottery.
“It’s almost calling for the referee to be in a box and calling the decisions from above where he is over-looking things. But it is also about a matter of opinion – and that’s the other half of the problem – that refs in Europe control games in different ways so that has to be improved.”