Media playback is not supported on this device Don’t get the wrong idea – Eddie Jones ‘loves a bit of rugby’
England boss Eddie Jones has described his November autumn internationals as “trendy”.
Jones put his squad together on the basis of “trends in the game” and criminal code trials.
He took on board achievements of players at Premiership clubs and watched cases of players involved in heated incidents.
It was the first time an England coach had recorded more than 24 hours of videos since 2003.
The footage was used to identify four players who could “possibly improve our squad”, such as Wasps trio Joe Launchbury, James Haskell and Elliot Daly, with Quins duo Marland Yarde and Danny Care close to his inner circle.
Jones said all candidates for the playing squad “have good characteristics” but added they were “very much the baby-faced brigade”.
“I suppose the important thing is we create competition, we create a healthy environment in which each position can be rated as equally as there is a slight selection bias,” he said.
“It is a bit like a CV; I would be hard pressed to find an amazing CV in which every selection criteria was completely met.”
Loose-head prop Matt Mullan will be one of 11 members of the 2017/18 British and Irish Lions Tour of New Zealand, with Rob Webber the next closest Englishman to making the All Blacks’ Test squad.
“Rob Webber is a completely different type of bloke and Mullan is one of the more abrasive types that we have – that we would not be allowed to select in a Lions squad,” said Jones.
“Any of these guys who have been here before get some concern, in that they are potentially being judged on some press out there that we expect them to be as open as people like Mark Cueto.”
Flanker James Haskell, who is 33, and lock Danny Care, who is 32, were on the other end of club disciplinary hearings.
“He [Care] definitely knows the game and we believe that he has had more discipline than someone who has been here since 2010 or 2011,” said Jones.
“But with these young lads in, everybody is being marked.
“It is a way of keeping people honest and we’ve found ways of quantifying their standards of behaviour which we don’t get in any other country, even by the way we behave.”
BBC rugby correspondent Chris Jones
Eddie Jones’ squad selections have been characterised by ‘gut instinct’ – a classic rugby coach’s move to mould a squad who can make him, or his predecessors, “look good”.
But this squad was shaped by the dynamic of the game, which is a fascinating aspect of this first England boss to stay with the national team for as long as he has done.
The moodiness of the Test officials and the homogeneity of the champions at Premiership level was the key.
Jones took so much video into his camp that the trusted Track Records function in every one of the four training gyms was loaded and became available to him.
Those in the know were used to copious hours viewing impressive statistics, showing increasingly average video performers who then improved slightly.
And before Jones put a final list of potential players to a negotiation meeting, the standard of all 12-week squad videos was taken to a new level.
Jones said the Naser Bazoft trial, on whether rugby is a penalised game, is the one of the “true mysteries of the game”.
What is ‘biting’?
England’s November Test programme has taken on such significance because Bath prop Bazoft faces a charge of biting Saracens lock Will Fraser at a Premiership tie on 6 September.
Players have been charged for this tactic on four occasions since 2005 – once with Samoa’s Sefa Naivalu, twice with Wales’s Jamie Roberts and then Scotland’s Nathan Hines during 2016.
Bazoft would be suspended for five or more weeks – as would England prop Matt Mullan, whose red card in Saturday’s defeat by Exeter was the seventh of his England career.
“We are trying to work out what biting is,” said Jones. “Is it a penalty?
“Bazoft will be available for the final game of this season, on Saturday [the 32 October derby between Harlequins and Northampton] if he does not [end up with a ban].”
Bazoft, who has represented Samoa three times, is expected to face an England disciplinary hearing this week.