- United States join England's group for the 2019 World Cup
- England Rugby reaping rewards of player pathway
In June England headed to Argentina for a two-test series with a squad that included 15 uncapped players, several of whom made their debut on the tour.
Nick Isiekwe, Jack Maunder and Tom Curry reveal how they made the step up from England’s performance squads, while team manager Richard Hill talks of the importance of progressing from the player pathway into the senior squad.
“They fitted in incredibly well and that is a tribute to the players themselves and how much they’ve wanted to learn and improve,” said Hill.
“It’s also a credit to the senior players we have in the squad and a strong indicator of how well the pathway is working and the faith Eddie Jones is putting in these players and their ability.”
Making the step up
Sale Sharks forward Curry made a first England appearance against the Barbarians in May, also winning his first cap against Argentina a few weeks later and he paid tribute to the senior players in the squad for helping them integrate.
“The likes of Dylan Hartley and George Ford have been really good at introducing us into the system and the way everything is run and that’s really helped us make the step up on the field as well as off it.”
Exeter scrum-half Maunder, who was in England U20s Elite Performance squad last season, added: “Being in this environment makes you realise how much harder you have to work. It teaches you to be tough on yourself.”"We want them to become established internationals."
Saracens lock Isiekwe scored a try on his first senior appearance for England against the Barbarians, before winning his cap as a replacement in the first Test against Argentina.
And he recalls the moment he was told he'd be coming on.
"Being told you are going to go on and play is very nerve wracking but you know you have a role to do and you've got fulfill it," he said.
Having helped England to a 2-0 series victory in Argentina, Hill added the challenge was for England’s new caps to now go back to their club environment and improve yet further.
“It’s important they return to their clubs, take this form into that environment and play as an international,” he said.
“We don’t want this to be a fleeting visit, we don’t want it to be a one cap or two cap visit. We want them to become established internationals.”