Friday 24 September 2021 8:00 am

Ollie Phillips: Eddie Jones's England reboot is exciting and long overdue

Two years out from a World Cup you expect Eddie Jones to make big calls and do some culling, and the result, announced this week, is an exciting England autumn training squad.

Of the new faces, Newcastle Falcons youngster Adam Radwan is one of those I’m looking forward to watching get a chance. His footwork and raw speed are like nothing I’ve seen before.

Fellow wing Louis Lynagh’s inclusion has made plenty of headlines and he’s well worth a place too, for his amazing form with Harlequins as well as his family pedigree. 

At long last, back rows Alex Dombrandt and Sam Simmonds are in the England fold. The frustrating thing is that it’s taken Jones so long to heed everyone’s calls.

And there is still experience there. In the backs you have Manu Tuilagi, Anthony Watson, Henry Slade and Ben Youngs, and among the forwards is Joe Marler – who I tip my hat to for doing what’s right for him and his family as much as being one of the world’s best front rows.

Jones gambled on his Saracens players last season and none of them really delivered because of their lack of rugby. Billy and Mako Vunipola have paid the price by being dropped, along with fly-half George Ford.

Mako and Ford are more surprising but Billy Vunipola’s omission is overdue. On his day he is the best No8 around but he hasn’t played well for England for two years. This might be the kick up the backside they need, and Jones has made clear the door remains open.

There are still some who are lucky to be in the England autumn training squad, like scrum-half Ben Youngs, but on the whole Jones has picked a really interesting squad who could be great fun to watch this autumn.

Stern test for Tigers

I picked out Leicester as Premiership dark horses this season and they didn’t disappoint last weekend, with an opening victory over Exeter Chiefs.

On Friday night they head to Kingsholm, which used to be a stronghold for Gloucester. It’s an early test of Leicester’s mettle but I fancy them to come through again.

That could be one of few away wins in the second round. I think Bath and Danny Cipriani will be too much for Newcastle, Exeter will beat Northampton Saints, and Harlequins look to have too much for Worcester.

Bristol can win at Wasps if they rediscover their creativity, while I think Sale Sharks could beat a London Irish side that is still settling down. 

Former England Sevens captain Ollie Phillips is the founder of Optimist Performance, experts in leadership development and behavioural change. Follow Ollie on Twitter and on LinkedIn.