STATEMENT: RFU Addresses Eddie Jones' Claim of Influencing Steve Borthwick's Team Selection - Ruck

STATEMENT: RFU Addresses Eddie Jones’ Claim of Influencing Steve Borthwick’s Team Selection

Eddie Jones suggested that external pressures might have influenced the decision to choose Marcus Smith over Owen Farrell for the 2023 Six Nations match against France.

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Following the record-breaking defeat, Jones, who had been dismissed by the RFU months earlier, speculated that the RFU was impacting his selection choices.

“The selection of Marcus — to me that’s always the political selection,” said Jones on his podcast EDDIE. “

“A player has been out of form, hasn’t quite done well at Test level and then he plays one or two club games and he’s a hero. The media starts banging on the door — you’ve got to pick him, you’ve got to pick him — and then the board reacts to that, and ask, ‘Why aren’t you picking him?’

“When you’re a young coach at the start of your career you can get influenced by that. I really felt for Marcus in that game. The thing you’ve got in England is the intenseness [sic] of the media, which then affects the board, and they start to step in, and that’s when you get problems. Allow the coach to coach.

“The board have a strategic role, but because they feel the pressure they try to get involved in the operational side, and that’s when things get worse. Unless you have strong people around the team that can be a difficulty.”

An RFU spokesperson told Telegraph Sport: “Team selection is entirely Steve’s decision as England Head Coach.”

This weekend, the Australian coach, now leading Japan, faces his former team for the first time, with Marcus Smith once again starting at fly-half as confirmed by Borthwick this morning.

Borthwick said:

“We’re looking forward to the challenge of playing Japan at their National Stadium.

“Conditions in Tokyo mean we’ll need to be accurate, keep our discipline, and maintain a level of intensity in our performance from the first whistle to the last.

“We will need to be at our very best against an opponent who will want to play fast.”

England team to play Japan:

15. George Furbank

14. Immanuel Feyi-Waboso

13. Henry Slade – vice-captain

12. Ollie Lawrence

11. Tommy Freeman

10. Marcus Smith

9. Alex Mitchell

1. Bevan Rodd

2. Jamie George – captain

3. Dan Cole

4. Maro Itoje – vice-captain

5. George Martin

6. Chandler Cunningham-South

7. Sam Underhill

8. Ben Earl – vice-captain


16. Theo Dan

17. Joe Marler – vice-captain

18. Will Stuart

19, Charlie Ewels

20. Tom Curry

21. Harry Randall

22. Fin Smith

23. Tom Roebuck

England Stars Partners:

Below, you will find a list of the players’ partners, along with additional information about each of them:

#1. Beth Dolling (Marcus Smith)

Beth Dolling, whose Instagram handle is @bethdolling, is presently romantically involved with Marcus Smith, the fly-half for Harlequins.

Their relationship began in 2019, but the details of their initial encounter remain undisclosed. Beth is not only a model but also a singer, having participated in various campaigns for renowned brands like PrettyLittleThing, Missy Empire, and Rebellious.

She is affiliated with M Models in Manchester and Body London, showcasing glimpses of her fashion shoots on her Instagram story.

With 34,000 followers on Instagram, Beth keeps her fans engaged with her captivating content.