England head coach Eddie Jones insists he will not be afraid to make unpopular selection decisions as he prepares to name the first squad of his tenure this week.
Australian Jones is due to name his 33-man party for next month’s Six Nations on Wednesday, and has already been tipped to replace Chris Robshaw as captain with controversial hooker Dylan Hartley.
“It puts no pressure on me; the pressure is on the player,” he said. “If a player hasn’t been selected, he hasn’t done well enough – it’s as simple as that. I accept that there’ll be criticism of the squad and people will think other players should be in and everyone’s entitled to their opinion but at the end of the day the players select themselves, because they express themselves in the way that I can see them be a profitable part of a winning England team.”
Hartley, who missed Northampton’s Premiership defeat to Leicester on Saturday with a rib problem, has been added to a mounting injury list that threatens to affect Jones’s plans.
Saracens second-row George Kruis was concussed just 90 seconds into his team’s loss to Harlequins at the weekend, while Gloucester No8 Ben Morgan suffered a shoulder injury and Exeter wing Jack Nowell hurt a knee.
Jones has declared himself happy with his staff and played down the need to recruit any more coaches, having recruited Steve Borthwick and Paul Gustard from Bristol and Saracens respectively.
“We’re all done and dusted,” he added. “We’ve got Steve Borthwick looking after set-piece with Ian Peel assisting, Gussie [Paul Gustard] looking after defence and I’m going to coach attack, so we don’t need anything else at this stage.”