Ben Te'o left out of England's 31-man World Cup squad

Press Association Sport 15:45 12/08/2019
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Ben Te’o has been overlooked for England’s 31-man World Cup squad in a shock omission by Eddie Jones.

Te’o has lost out to Piers Francis among the four centres bound for Japan 2019 despite being an ever-present under Jones when available.

The 32-year-old was involved in a scuffle with Mike Brown during a social event at the squad’s training camp in Treviso a fortnight ago.

Jones said over the weekend that Te’o was still in World Cup contention but the Australian has chosen to leave him out.

Former sevens specialist Ruaridh McConnochie continues a remarkable year by being present as the only uncapped player on the strength of a strong end to the season for Bath.

Flanker Lewis Ludlam, hooker Jack Singleton and scrum-half Willi Heinz made their debuts in Sunday’s rout of Wales and are also picked.

Jones has gambled by taking only two scrum-halves with Heinz providing cover for Ben Youngs, who is first choice in the position.

The decision to pick just five props means Harry Williams misses out, with Kyle Sinckler and Dan Cole travelling as the two tightheads.

Brad Shields will also miss out on the World Cup as he continues his rehabilitation from the foot injury incurred in Treviso.

The outlook on Shields left him with a race against time to board the plane with the rest of the squad on September 8 and Ludlam has been chosen in his place.

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Eddie Jones to reveal England squad well in advance of deadline

Press Association Sport 08:19 12/08/2019
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Eddie Jones will announce his World Cup squad at lunchtime on Monday, well in advance of the official deadline in a move welcomed by the players.

Almost a month before World Rugby’s official deadline, Jones will unveil the 31 who will travel to Japan in the hope of emulating the success of Martin Johnson’s 2003 global champions.

Ben Te’o could be the biggest casualty after being overlooked for Sunday’s thumping victory over Wales as punishment for being involved in an altercation with Mike Brown during a recent team-bonding social event.

Te’o has been an ever-present under Jones and appeared a certainty for Japan 2019 until clashing with Brown in Treviso, Italy.

After Wales were swept aside at Twickenham, the players returned to their team hotel in west London knowing they would soon learn if they are to be given their shot at the sport’s greatest prize.

Those who are successful will travel to Bristol on Tuesday morning to begin preparations for the return fixture with Wales in Cardiff, while the others will be sent back to their clubs.

Jones’ decision to finalise his squad well before World Rugby’s cut-off point and before all his rivals except France is curious, but the break with convention has the approval of Ben Youngs.

Four years ago, under Stuart Lancaster, selection went down to the wire with the choice between rugby league convert Sam Burgess and the more established Luther Burrell for the final midfield slot disturbing squad harmony as England 2015 fast approached.

“I can only speak from previous experiences, but I believe that naming the squad early is definitely the right thing,” veteran scrum-half Ben Youngs said.

“The earlier you name it the more you can tighten up as a group and continue to work, so for me it makes perfect sense. It’s hugely beneficial for us as a squad to know that from past experiences.

“You want to know and the longer you leave it the more the elephant in the room appears. ‘What’s happening? Am I in or am I out? Who’s going?’.

Everyone knows the selection process has to happen. You respect it, you have to just wait and see what decisions are made. We are all men.

“People talking about it, people wondering, people questioning every time, ‘How did I train? Do you think that has helped? Has it impacted?’.

“Once you know the 31 you can crack on. If you leave it longer I don’t think it benefits the cohesion of the squad.

“I don’t think it benefits guys’ understanding of their roles and where they are at so for me I think it makes perfect sense that it is named early.

“But everyone knows the selection process has to happen. You respect it, you have to just wait and see what decisions are made. We are all men.”

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Ireland boss Joe Schmidt faces anxious wait on Joey Carbery injury

Press Association Sport 08:35 11/08/2019
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Joe Schmidt hopes Joey Carbery has avoided serious injury to his left ankle.

The Munster fly-half hobbled off after suffering a sprain in Ireland’s 29-10 World Cup warm-up victory over Italy in Dublin.

Head coach Schmidt has confirmed Carbery has avoided a fracture, and now hopes the 23-year-old can still be fit in time for the World Cup.

Premier playmaker Johnny Sexton has been recovering from a thumb sprain, and Ireland can ill afford to lose either frontline fly-half.

“The good news is there’s no fracture, it’s a bit puffy on the inside of his left ankle,” said Schmidt.

“We’ll give it 24 to 48 hours for the swelling to go down.

“He’s been cleared of a fracture so that’s the good news on Joey.

“We don’t have anyone else who’s a major concern.

“We’re hopefully relatively unscathed but Joey it will take 24 to 48 hours to know for sure.

“I was really happy with Joey’s performance today.

“Defensively he got himself into the right places, and that’s a challenge sometimes.

“I thought he ran the game very well, the variety of his kicking game and running game.

“He is a danger with the ball, and he almost got through the line a couple of times.

“I thought as a package Joey’s game was really tidy.”

Ireland boss Schmidt confirmed Sexton will be available to feature in the next warm-up clash, against England at Twickenham on Saturday, August 24.

“Johnny probably could have played this weekend,” said Schmidt.

“He trained in the week and was going pretty hard I’m told.”

Carbery, Dave Kearney, Andrew Conway, Jordi Murphy and Kieran Marmion all crossed as an experimental Ireland line-up secured a routine Aviva Stadium victory.

Maxime Mbanda and Carlo Canna bagged first-half tries as Italy exploited Ireland’s pre-season ring-rustiness.

Chris Farrell impressed at inside centre, providing stability and power across Ireland’s midfield.

And Schmidt admitted the Munster powerhouse has improved his chances of forcing his way into Ireland’s final World Cup 31.

Asked if Farrell had improved his abilities to feature at either 12 or 13, Schmidt said: “I think he took a step toward it.

“It’s something that we know all three of the other centres can do.

“Garry Ringrose started his first Test as a 12, and coming off the bench before he’s shifted into 12.

“Bundee has played a lot of 12, and Robbie too.

“And at the same time those three players can play 13.

“So we want to make sure that three or four centres, however we carve it up, with Garry able to play on the wing as well. So it’s just keeping our options open a little.”

Italy boss Conor O’Shea insisted he was reasonably satisfied with proceedings, despite the defeat.

“It’s very hard to contextualise when you have your first hit-out,” said O’Shea.

“I thought there were a lot of positives for where we are physically; we were able to more than hold our own.

“It comes to the stage now about what we can control, not what the opposition does to us.

“A few guys really stuck their hands up; we’ll just keep on building.”

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