England coach Eddie Jones is hopeful of 20-plus of his national team players being called into the British ans Irish Lions squad for the tour of South Africa in 2021.
Jones wants England to break Lions call-ups record
Jones hopes his England team can clinch the delayed 2020 Six Nations and the 2021 edition to justify such a dominance of the Lions group.
“I want to see a record, I want our side to be by far the dominant force in the Lions,” said Jones in quotes carried by the Guardian. “I am hoping for 20-plus [but] that will be a consequence of them playing well for England.”
The veteran coach expects the crammed 2020/2021 season to present challenges on the player fitness front but said he expected his players to be in the best condition possible under the circumstances.
“Circumstances dictate that it’s a difficult season [but] I think the planning between the clubs and us will result in our players being in as good a condition as they can be,” Jones said. “It’s always tricky but that’s the challenge we have in English rugby.”
Coaches don’t experiment
Jones scoffed at the suggestion he might name an experimental team for the November internationals, should they take place.
The Australian coach of England quipped: “The last experiment I did was about 39 years ago in biology. I remember opening up a rat. Coaches don’t experiment. Test rugby is about doing your country proud and picking the best players.”
Jones says he has been consulting with other sporting codes regarding best practices for training under strict health protocols. The coach feels that the challenges of the pandemic present his side with opportunities to perhaps gain an edge.
“We’ve had our staff in contact with England cricket and I’ve had conversations with the cycling team run by David Brailsford,” Jones added.
“I’ve also been lucky enough to have a chat with a few NFL sides, so we’ve been studying what is going on around the world. It is going to be different … there will be challenges but also opportunities.”
England hope to clinch delayed Six Nations
Ireland will face Italy at the Aviva Stadium on 24 October to resume the 2020 Six Nations tournament.
The last round of the Six Nations will take place on 31 October.
Wales will face Scotland at a venue yet to be confirmed, Italy are set to host England at the Stadio Olimpico, and France will play Ireland at the Stade de France.
Jones’ England are top of the standings with 13 points, but are only ahead of France on points difference.