England Squad for Autumn Internationals 2018

Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones has named the England squad to prepare for the Autumn Internationals fixtures against South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Australia.

England men’s head coach Eddie Jones has named a 36-man squad to fly to Portugal next week for a training camp to prepare for the first match of the Quilter Internationals against South Africa.

Jones has confirmed that Owen Farrell (Saracens) and Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints) will be co-captains for the four-Test series.

There are eight uncapped players named in the squad including Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby), Nathan Earle (Harlequins), Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors), Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby), Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs), Michael Rhodes (Saracens), Nick Schonert (Worcester Warriors) and Elliott Stooke (Bath Rugby).

Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby) is included for the first time since 2015. The 29-year-old number eight has played 31 Tests for his country with his final appearance coming against Australia during the last Rugby World Cup. Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby) is selected in the squad for the first time this season while Hill has been named as an apprentice.

Eddie Jones said: “I’m really happy with the squad. We can only control what we can control and injuries have happened. It gives an opportunity for some good new players to play some important Tests for England while players who have been in the squad before, will have to take on more responsibility.

Jones added: “I have named Dylan and Owen as co-captains for the series. They have both been excellent captains for England in the past and will provide a powerful leadership base for us on and off the field.”

On the training camp in Portugal Jones said: “We have taken a slightly different approach this year. With the World Cup in mind we are going to Portugal in the middle of next week until the Thursday of the Test week so will be back to train at Twickenham the day before we play South Africa. As well as giving the players a different experience it also gives them some rest after their club matches before joining up with England.

“The Portugal camp is about getting the team organised. The players have all been playing in different systems and with different ideas at their clubs so it’s about producing a team that is absolutely brutal in the physical contest, as the game demands, and also playing a smart English brand of rugby.”

On England’s first Test against South Africa Jones added: “South Africa have been going really well. They have a new coach and have selected well. They play a traditional Springbok game up front and move the ball wide when they need to. We’ll need to take them on up front and when we have opportunities to score points we have to be good enough to take them.

“We love Twickenham. The players feel the support and we can’t wait to get out there and play in front of 82,000 against South Africa.”

England will play South Africa (3 November), New Zealand (10 November), Japan (17 November) and Australia (24 November) at Twickenham Stadium, with the kick off for all games at 3pm, live on Sky Sports HD. England will travel to Portugal on Wednesday 24 October to begin their preparations for the four-Test series.

A 23-man squad will be confirmed on Tuesday 30 October ahead of the Test against the Springboks on 3 November. England will fly back to London from Portugal following the Test squad announcement on Thursday 1 November.

England men’s squad

Forwards (20)
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks)
Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby)
Jamie George (Saracens)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints) co-captain
Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs)
Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors) *
Maro Itoje (Saracens)
George Kruis (Saracens)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby)
Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs)
Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby)
Michael Rhodes (Saracens)
Nick Schonert (Worcester Warriors)
Brad Shields (Wasps)
Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins)
Elliott Stooke (Bath Rugby)
Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby)
Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs)
Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons)

Backs (16)
Chris Ashton (Sale Sharks)
Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby)
Elliot Daly (Wasps)
Nathan Earle (Harlequins)
Owen Farrell (Saracens) co-captain
George Ford (Leicester Tigers)
Alex Lozowski (Saracens)
Jonny May (Leicester Tigers)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors)
Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)
Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)


Unavailable for selection
Jack Clifford (Harlequins)
Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers)
Nathan Hughes (Wasps)
Nick Isiekwe (Saracens)
Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby)
Joe Launchbury (Wasps)
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Dan Robson (Wasps)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)

57 thoughts on “England Squad for Autumn Internationals 2018

  1. Who EJ picks is up to him, and generally most of the names are not a surprise, or probably not even that controversial. However, I can’t understand why he only has two hookers and two FH’s in the squad. Pivotal positions, and if any of them get injured in the first game, he will be scrabbling around trying to get replacements unused to the squad or the game plan. Doesn’t make sense to me. In EJ do I no longer trust!

    1. 2 FH is very normal for international squads but technically we have 4 FH with Slade and Lozowski.

      2 hookers is less usual as it leaves little room for manoeuvre given both will be required to play 20-30 minutes per game. Would like to have seen another out of 2-3 players selected

      1. Yes, but if both are starting your risk of injury is that much higher and would you really want Slade or Lozowski coming on at FH against the AB’s for example?

  2. Its a typical Eddie Jones squad. Some selections have you quietly applauding, some make you nod quietly in agreement, some make you despair that so and so is picked ahead of so and so, and some make you wonder what on earth is he thinking?
    So, nothing new then.
    Its now about selecting a core team ( as much as injuries will allow) and winning games through to the WC.

  3. 2 hookers is not leaving much room for manoeuvre against very physical oppositions, you wonder if he may regret that. Underhill and Shields barely played a minute while others like Ewers and Armand overlooked… Certainly not on form like other decisions supposedly are. Typical EJ squad as already stated, the good the bad and the bizarre.

  4. The fact that he’s picked Wiggy ahead of Spencer or Robson (Or any other scrum half) speaks volumes as to the type of game he wants to play. I suspect it’s because there are a few ball carriers missing from through injury but it doesn’t look too encouraging for younger players.

    In the back row I would go with Wilson, Curry and Mercer. Wilson has upped his game recently and is becoming a much better ball carrier. He can also cover 8 so positional switching with Mercer at scrum time is optional for tactical reasons.

    Midfield is tricky. If Tuilagi is fully fit and up to speed with the defensive structure etc, then I would start Faz at 10 with Tui at 12 and either Loz or Slade at 13. May, Nowell and Daly as my back three in that order, with Ashton on the bench. Sorry Mr. Brown!

      1. Can’t see why Morgan has been called into the squad if he isn’t going to start at least a couple of games.

      2. I just feel that having Morgan back in the squad is more of a knee jerk reaction to Billy’s injury and Hughes ban. Whilst Morgan has been playing reasonably well, I still wonder about his level of fitness as he rarely plays a full 80.

        I’m also not sure he would maintain a place in the squad once Billy is fit and Hughes is back? Whilst Mercer is still young and more versatile as a player.

        1. Dazza – you are way off with that remark. Morgan has played 7 games this season and started and finished 5 of them.

    1. Dan Robson is injured and out until the new year at least. He was called into the initial training squad earlier in the year and is listed as among the unavailable despite being uncapped (the only uncapped player on that list), which suggests to me if he’d have been fit he’d have been picked. Does make Ben Spencer’s token few minutes in the summer look pointless though.

    2. Yr back row is a novice one. Will it dominate NZ’s loose trio? That’s how you need to view it. Also, I don’t see swapping 6 & 8 as being tactical? Seems like playing guy out of posi. Additionally, yr midfield is disrupted with Farrell @ 10. Tui hasn’t played for yrs & Loz & Slade too are novices. Daly ought to be @ centre & Brown @ the back. The former is experienced @ club level herel & fills a problematic, deskilled post for England & the latter won’t drop it under pressure which will surely be applied in Nov.

  5. I didn’t initially pick this up, but Dan Cole has been dropped. Interesting call to dispense of so much experience at this point in the WC cycle, especially given injuries all experienced looseheads. That’s 15 caps between the two most experienced props he could pick from this squad…

    Underhill, Spencer and Cips unlucky. Also, Sam Simmonds is not on the list of ‘unavailable for selection’. Suggests even if he was fit, Jones isn’t sold on him – Clifford has been listed, for example.

    1. I did notice that Cole was out, but in my opinion he has been way below par this season and doesn’t deserve a call up. Therefore wasn’t surprised or disappointed by this omission. At the end of the day, EJ knows what he is going to get with Cole, so why not try out some others.

      1. Update – have now seen Cole playing in European games and am rapidly eating my words. He is now playing well!

  6. Loses to SA and the All Blacks. Should beat Japan. Australia could go either way. If England lose 3 of the 4 home games Jones will be gone.

        1. That’s odd – I replied to this once already. Anyway doubt he will get the sack, am hoping we don’t lose three but wouldn’t be surprised.

    1. But he won’t be dethroned. The RFU have granted him a contract until something like 2037 haven’t they? (tongue in cheek slightly).
      No disrespect to Ted Hill but that place could have gone to a more experienced player such as Ewers or Kvesic. I also think Mercer is too young and too lightweight at present.
      Coming late to the party I can only repeat what many others are saying about this curate’s egg of a squad. If Cole is deemed surplus then why not Dylan?
      Regarding Cips, he is now lost to the Int’l game which is a tragedy ,all be it one he helped to engineer but EJ is becoming a mealy mouthed hypocrite . So much for picking on form.

      1. Dunno much about Mercer other than he’s a Bath 6 or & is the son of Kiwi rugby leaguer Gary, however @ 6′ 3” & 17 & a 1/2 stone, he doesn’t seem that lightweight?

      2. I wouldnt call Mercer lightweight – he’s been doing a lot of picking from the ruck/scrum and carrying into traffic effectively. He also has exceptional footwork for a big guy so can make tacklers miss in close proximity as well as having the pace to go around people. Definitely deserves a matchday squad place on the back of this seasons performances.

  7. Less than 12 months before RWC we are putting out the least experienced pack we’ve had for ages against the SH heavyweights.
    This could be very painful.We then have Ireland and Wales away.
    So out of next 9 I predict no more than 4 wins.
    Where will self belief be next March?

  8. It is a matter of concern that if you look at the forwards in this squad there are probably only two who would be guaranteed a place in a world cup team next year, Hartley who is not even the best hooker at his club and Itoje who is error-prone and liable to give away too many penalties. we have several tyro back rows who play for clubs well down the Premiership table while the entire Exeter back row sits at home and wonders how much more they have to do to get selected. In the backs Farrell would be a cert on merit, but in the other positions you have Ford (clearly not in the same sort of form as Cipriani), Brown (playing ok but not in the same class as Goode), Youngs (slowest scrum half pass in the Premiership and hasn´t been in good form for two years), and Tuilagi, who is still a yard slower than he used to be and not in particularly good form. In both forwards and backs there are a number of players with virtually no game time this year. No idea what Shields is doing there, he looks like a poor man´s Haskell to me. We are so far from EJ´s declared aim of having three international class players competing for each position that I sometimes wonder whether he has been planted by the Australian RFU. I think we will lose comfortably to SA and NZ, scrape home against Australia and win against Japan, but WC success? No chance.

    1. You make a lot of sense Andy L. Have you mailed yr post to the RFU? Not that iit would probably make a jot of difference. They seem committed to a coach who hardly anyone here (or anywhere else?) endorses. Seemingly Jones has lost the plot & can’t handle the job’s pressure with his irrational selections, highlighted by you, Andy.
      Nonetheless, I think England could beat SA whom are unlikely to have a full team available with De Klerk & le Roux for instance missing (I think). They’ll surely beat Japan, although I’m not too sure about Oz, but they could win 3. You never know, especially after the recent 2 AB, SA results, but NZ ought to be too effective for England. Moreover, with 3 AI’s in the bag, it would ease the pressure on Jones & possibly even the perception about his abilities as coach again. Nevertheless, it won’t change the reality, IMO (& others’), that Jones has serious flaws in his make up & thinking. This bourne out by his past record, which is chequered & lacking in significant success. I sympathise, but I’m glad he’s not NZ’s coach I’m afraid.

    2. Have you been watching the premiership/champions cup this season? Ford and Tuilagi have been in really good form, the latter recently getting MOTM v Scarlets. Brown is also a different player to Goode, not as flashy but dependable, something that Goode has never been at international level.
      I think selection in the backs, with the exception of Cips, is very good and nearing full strength. It’s certainly better than it has been recently, although I did read that May could be injured. Still, if all are fit above I would go Youngs – Farrell – May – Tuilagi – Daly – Cokanasiga – Brown with Care – Ford – Nowell on the bench. The wing is probably one of England’s healthier positions so there is no need to play Daly there, he should get the chance at centre.

      1. If this is presumably (?) aimed @ me Jake, so no, I haven’t seen as much rugby, which you mention, as I could. I don’t have BT, so I watch it when I can in the pub. However, although you make YOUR back line selection above, there’s no guarantee that Jones will pick the same. IMO Jones, who has no track record of significant success & was ejected from the Reds & Saracens, has ruined Cipriani’s (& others’) international chances. You rate Ford, yet pick Farrell, who doesn’t play @ fly1/2 for England, ahead of him? I don’t rate either ahead of DC in innovation or skill. For the AI’s & especially the WC, England need innovation, skill, the unexpected @ fly1/2 (& elsewhere). Farrell is solid & dependable & kicks goals, so I can understand his inclusion @ 12, but @ inside centre. A Barry John or Beauden Barrett he ain’t. Ford is ok going forward, but is flawed going backwards in his decision making & can become anonymous. In a WC England need guys to stand out under pressure, not be just reliable but limited, or only better going forward. To stick with these 2, as Jones almost certainly will, limits England IMO. Cip isn’t perfect, but I’d rather not have him playing v NZ in the Cup. I agree that England ought to have Daly @ centre for his quick wit, reading of options & skill. However, as Jones hasn’t even considered him in midfield, do you think he’ll do so now? He might, but I doubt it. It’s getting a bit late to start experimenting isn’t it? And Tui @ centre? This must be a choice based on his past ‘bosh’ reputation? Ok to rotate him, but he’s currently untried @ international level. Also, jones has included Slade more recently, so is he to now be ejected? The wings seem covered, altho Roko @ Bath is more experienced than the novice Cokanasiga. Agree with Brown @ the back. Jones needs to get him offloading & entering the line more, but MB won’t drop it like Watson did. I just don’t see continuity or enough skill in midfield, or fly1/2 FFM & this is where Lancaster came in. That & @ 7. However, as you haven’t mentioned the forwards, I won’t dwell here. Nevertheless, a few names, like Kvesic, Attwood & the why was he missing for the last 3 yrs?, Morgan & perhaps the untried Arnand for example spring to mind.

        1. This was actually aimed at Andy, I don’t have BT either but this means I also spend far too much time in the pub.
          The comment on Ford was more in response to Andy, I do rate him but think Farrell is more well rounded so would include him from the given squad. I do agree with you on “ruining” Cips chances, though maybe wouldnt have used that language. I dont understand including him for SA then leaving him out of the training and Autumn squads, despite his stellar club form. Maybe the Jersey incident came into play but I dont buy that.
          BB has had a couple of great years but against SA he was also anonymous, I would continue to argue that even the best flyhalf cannot operate when their forward pack is under pressure and on the back foot. Though when this is the case, a goal kicker is needed. I think this is one of the only areas BB falls down, one in which Farrell excels. Its a minor point, and one that I shouldnt hold on to too much. but one worth making.
          On the centres, I imagine Daly will be on the wing, with F-F-Tui 10-12-13. Tuilagi is, imo, one of those players that is a freak of nature. Yes he is lacking in exp. but he has the raw physical attributes to exceed nonetheless. SBW is a player who is similar in this sense (not suggesting theyre the same, SBW has far more exp and more accolades), he is a physical specimen and is so good in part because of this.
          Roko again is not favoured, though he is my favourite player to watch for Bath. Attwood has played well since returning from France, though lock is a position of decent strength in depth. Kvesic maybe left it too late and Armand….who knows?!

          1. Oops, Jake! & after all that burning of the midnight oil! Are also, you suggesting that I spend too much time in the rub a dub dub?! Bit worrying. Where would you include Farrell though? I2, or 10. If the latter, it created even more issues in midfield. No one looks better going backwards. BB included. However, he creates more than he detracts & is currently behind only D. Carter as the top try scoring 1st 5. He also does his share of saving the AB’s in ‘D’. Remember his beating of the Saffa wing to that touchdown last up? Or that ‘scoop’ off the ground that yr Stuart Barnes drooled about ? Don’t recall F or F doing likewise. Also, SBW, although not my favourite, offloads in the tackle. Tui bashes through, which is ok if the oppo fall off. If they don’t though, he’s just predictable. Atwood, Roko & Kvesic have all been ignored for no logical reason. Jones is therefore also illogical IMO. Time will tell.

            1. Still wonder @ my grammar & tenses etc. I do read these things, but to little avail. If only I could re-read them enough times BEFORE I post! My mobile’s battery was/is running out though. Is that a good excuse?! Er, don’t answer that!

          2. Jake, I have watched at least two games a weekend every weekend for a number of years, plus the highlights nearly every week, and watched Ford and Farrell together since they played for the under 20’s. Ford is a good player, particularly behind a pack that is going forward, but tends to disappear out of games when under pressure. In my view there is no doubt that Farrell is the better 10. His tactical kicking, tackling and consistency are superior, and if Cipriani is not going to get a chance then I think you play your best player in a vital pivotal role. Tuilagi is certainly running back into some sort of form at club level, but I still question whether he has recovered enough pace. You say that Goode has never been dependable at international level, but imo he has improved his defence and reliability under the high ball hugely over the past two years. He is full of confidence, playing out of his skin at club level and deserves a a better opportunity than he has been given in the past when he rarely got a start and hardly played with the same back three twice running. My biggest concern in the backs is still Youngs
            whose pass is slow and whose movement tends to be lateral. Leicester always look more dangerous when Harrison comes on.

  9. i’ve just read the BBC website summary of the Bath/Wasps game. Re Mercer; “he looked nimble and quick in the loose but didn’t provide the forward momentum of other players in his position” Only one game I know and I don’t see him play every week but that summation is hardly encouraging unless EJ is going to use him as a “finsher” to run around tired defenders? Even so , it still puts a hell of an onus on Morgan to make the hard yards and stay injury free.

    1. You should watch the game. I thought Mercer played really well. He has good hands, quick feet and is definitely more powerful than last year. He is also a lot fitter than Morgan I suspect.

        1. Absolutely positive Don, but my brother and sister are both long term residents and supporters, so I get a fait bit of stick.

        1. Can’t disagree with that Acee. Jones is a mile away from knowing his best team, and I am worried about what it would be if he picked it.

      1. Just don’t know where all of this Morgan isn’t fit stuff is coming from. Seems to be a time warp back to 6 years ago when he wasn’t taking care of his food intake. Since then, including his various man of the match performances for England he has been an 80 minute player as his record for Glos shows this season. In the last game against Munster, despite the team playing for all but 18 minutes with only 14 men, he was still charging around at the end of the game when Glos were the better team.

  10. I’ve said it before but it’s absolutely relevant so i’ll say it again; We don’t know and HE doesn’t know (Jones) just what his best xv and reps are. Yes, injuries blah, blah but the fact that we can all have such a long winded debate about this is the key point. All of a sudden the most experienced tight head is dropped,what the hell is that all about? ok, Cole has been less than scintillating for a while but just before last years 6N, Jones was trumpeting him as the best t/hd in Europe. That’s some fall from grace! ( I know he wasn’t but that opens another can of worms about Eddie’s strange tendency to make hyperbolic claims about players). England will be basing their attack around a strong set piece and scrum. Discarding one of your canniest operators in that dept smacks of very muddle thinking but we’re getting used to that. Williams and Sinckler are both relative novices at this level and they will be caught out, no two ways about it. This is only one of at least half a dozen issues that raise more than one eyebrow. Please EJ, i couldn’t take a repeat of 2015.

  11. Morgan has been recalled to England for the first time since 2015? I swear he was in a couple of EJ’s early EPSs. Anyway, so glad for him he is one of my favourite players.


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