Since becoming England head coach, Eddie Jones has crafted a squad that subverts every stereotype through their make-up.
For the first time ever there is a high proportion of state-educated players, shredding rugby’s public-school image and improvements in ethnic diversity support Manu Tuilagi’s assertion that “in this team, it doesn’t matter where you’re from”.
The Aussie has now revealed which two of his project player he is most proud of.
“I’ve always been pro-diversity. It’s my natural instinct,” Jones explains.
“I look for players who have difficult backgrounds. That’s what resonates with me. We set out to create a more diverse team, because I feel diversity creates a stronger group. It brings different ways of thinking.
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“The job of a coach is to put all that together, and you draw strength from it. Ultimately, the players have to be good enough, but the two I’m proudest of are Ellis Genge and Kyle Sinckler.
“Both have quite difficult backgrounds, and we brought them into the side in 2016 as young kids.
“We had to be reasonably patient with them, but they have matured into great players.”
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LIST | Rugby Legends Select Their British & Irish Lions XV’s for 2021
The England legend picked his current Lions XV for Sky Sports, based on form during the 2020 Six Nations,
15. Stuart Hogg (Sco), 14. Jonny May (Eng), 13. Manu Tuilagi (Eng), 12. Hadleigh Parkes (Wal), 11. Elliot Daly (Eng), 10. Owen Farrell (Eng), 9. Ali Price (Sco); 1. Rory Sutherland (Sco), 2.Jamie George (Eng), 3. Kyle Sinckler (Eng), 4. Maro Itoje (Eng), 5. James Ryan (Ire), 6. Tom Curry (Eng), 7. Justin Tipuric (Wal), 8. CJ Stander (Ire)
Speaking on The Ruck Podcast on The Times website, Dallaglio revealed his Lions XV…
15. Liam Williams (Wal), 14. Josh Adams (Wal), 13. Jonathan Davies (Wal), 12. Robbie Henshaw (Ire), 11. Anthony Watson (Eng), 10. Owen Farrell (Eng), 9. Tomos Williams (Wal); 1. Joe Marler (Eng), 2.Jamie George (Eng), 3. Tadhg Furlong (Ire), 4. Maro Itoje (Eng), 5. James Ryan (Ire), 6. Courtney Lawes (Eng), 7. Tom Curry (Eng), 8. Taulupe Faletau (Wal)