Rugby Union


The Telegraph forgot to mention one critical player in their 2019 World Cup squad prediction

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Football News

Way back in 2015, The Telegraph had a shot in the dark at what they thought the England Rugby side would look like for the 2019 World Cup.

Rewind three years and England had just crashed out their home World Cup at the group stages and turned to Eddie Jones to restore some pride in the national team.

And now with the World Cup just around the corner, Jones will already have many of his squad to go to Japan pencilled in following the recent Autumn internationals.

So let's have a look at how close The Telegraph got then.

You may notice one very notable exception - that of current England co-captain Owen Farrell...

Fullback: Anthony Watson

A very decent guess to start proceedings. Watson missed the recent internationals through injury but is expected to be in the squad provided he can return to full fitness. Elliot Daly has played full-back most recently but hasn't convinced everyone.

Right Winger: Nathan Earle

Another current Harlequins player who was called up to the England senior side in 2017 by Eddie Jones but has not yet played for them. He isn’t expected to feature in the World Cup side with players such Chris Ashton and Jonny May in such good form.

Outside Centre: Jonathan Joseph

The Telegraph were perhaps onto a winner with this one. Joseph has established himself as a firm favourite with Jones and is an overwhelming favourite to play. He's another who missed the Autumn internationals through injury.


Inside Centre: Henry Slade

Like Joseph, Slade has also emerged as one of Jones' favourite to play at centre. He made his debut for England in 2014 but has only really been given a consistent run in the side this year.

Left Winger: Jack Nowell

Another decent pick by The Telegraph here. Jack Nowell will be expected to travel with the team. He has valuable experience in rising through the ranks and was part of the Under-18 and Under-20 England sides before now making 28 appearances and scoring 60 points for the senior side.

Fly Half: George Ford

Eddie Jones has gone off the idea of a Farrell-Ford partnership - from the start at least - but Ford will likely still be a key figure within the squad that heads to Japan.

England v New Zealand - Quilter International

Scrum Half: Dan Robson

Ben Youngs and Danny Care have been Jones' tried and trusted scrum-halves so Robson - who is out injured until January anyway - has not been much of an opportunity to impress. Richard Wigglesworth is also currently ahead of the Wasps ace in the pecking order. 

Loosehead Prop: Joe Marler

BIt harsh to judge The Telegraph on this one as Marler would almost certainly be on the plane to Japan had he not surprisingly retired from international duty earlier this year after revealing he no longer enjoyed playing for his country.

Hooker: Luke Cowan-Dickie

Cowan-Dickie is probably third choice at hooker for Eddie Jones right now, behind Dylan Hartley and Jamie George. But with Hartley's role appearing to be on the decline, there's still a chance Cowan-Dickie could sneak in.

Tighthead Prop: Paul Hill

Again, not the Telegraph's best call. Mako Vunipola and Kyle Sinckler of Saracens and Harlequins respectively, have emerged as key men are more likely to be included into the squad as props.

Northampton Saints v Leicester Tigers - Aviva Premiership

Lock: Joe Launchbury

Launchbury missed the Autumn internationals due to a knee injury but is one of England's first choice locks and should feature in 2019.

Lock: Maro Itoje

An obvious choice. Liked by his coaches and loved by his supporters. Itoje has flare and is one of those definitely in Jones' squad.

Blindside Flanker: Nathan Hughes

Nathan Hughes only featured in England's final international of the Autumn against Australia but would have featured more had he not been banned. Hughes is now viewed as a potential No.8 for the Red Rose while Chris Robshaw or Brad Shields will be battling at flanker. 

England Captain's Run

Openside Flanker: Will Fraser

Sadly, Will Fraser was forced to retire from the game in 2017 after suffering a neck injury, scuppering any hopes of fulfilling his bright potential. That has opened the door for Sam Underhill and Tom Curry to emerge this Autumn, however.

Number 8: Billy Vunipola

An almost certainty to travel to Japan, providing he is fit. A key figure of Jones' setup, Vunipola's recent injury problems will undoubtedly be a cause for concern next year.

England Rugby
IRB Rugby World Cup
Rugby Union
Sam Underhill
Kyle Sinckler
Nathan Hughes
Elliot Daly
Billy Vunipola
Tom Curry
George Ford
Maro Itoje
Owen Farrell

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