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Jones excited by England opportunities

  • Jones names squad for South Africa tour - more
  • Introducing England's uncapped players - here

England head coach Eddie Jones believes the summer tour to South Africa will provide the perfect opportunity to create history and expand player options for the future.

Jones has named eight uncapped players in his squad for the three-Test June tour, as England look for a first ever series win in the Springboks back yard.

England will start the series with a game in Johannesburg on 9 June, before moving on to Bloemfontein on 16 June and then ending in Cape Town on 23 June.

"We're missing 20 players who would be in the top 45 of the players in England so it's a great opportunity for England to expand its depth, it's a great opportunity for us to do something that's never been done before," said Jones.

"No England side has won a series in South Africa where there's a win percentage of 23%, so there's a mountain to climb, but there's nothing better to inspire to work a bit harder and to work together than to climb a big mountain.

"We're missing something like 700 caps so that puts a great hole in our experience, so the guys who have played a number of Tests and are still in the squad carry enormous responsibility.

"Then for the young guys coming in they've got the potential to show that they've got the ability to play Test match rugby and to show they can handle the toughness of a Test match series in South Africa."

Captain Faz 

With Dylan Hartley ruled out of the South Africa tour with concussion, Saracens back Owen Farrell will lead England in South Africa.

Farrell has previously been vice-captain and has led the team when Hartley has been out before and Jones is confident in his leadership abilities.

"We're all disappointed by Dylan's absence and we wish him best in his recovery, the main thing for him is to get back to full fitness.

"But Owen has been an integral part of the team over the last two years, has filled in as captain at the end of Test matches and filled in during the Six Nations was Dylan was unavailable.

"He's a guy that has plenty of respect within the team, he's a good, mature, tough player and he'll do a great job for us."

Bok physicality

On England's last visit to South Africa in 2012, they lost the opening two Tests before a 14-14 draw in Port Elizabeth.

As a country renowned for their aggression on the field, Jones says the whole squad need to be prepared for what awaits them.

"They feel like they can physically dominate us so our first port of call is to make sure we can stump up in that area, which I'm sure we will and then we've got to be tactically smart," he said.

"It's a great rugby country to go to. If you go on tours, you want to go to New Zealand and you want to go to South Africa so some of our players are going to do that in 12 months which is a great part of their rugby education. and we can expect the warmest of welcomes in Johannesburg."


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