Jones fearing more England discipline problems at Japan World Cup

‘I’ve never been confident in a team being smooth’: Eddie Jones fearing England discipline problems at Japan World Cup in the aftermath of Ben Te’o and Mike Brown bust-up

  • Eddie Jones admits he cannot rule out future discipline issues for England 
  • The head coach recently had to deal with Ben Te’o and Mike Brown clashing 
  • Both men have been left out of the 31-man World Cup squad as a result 
  • Jones likens his squad to a family, and admits all families have their issues 

Eddie Jones admitted on Monday that England are braced for more disciplinary trouble at the World Cup, after ditching two players who were involved in a fight on a recent social outing in Italy.

Ben Te’o had been regarded as a selection shoo-in, but the Lions centre was omitted from the 31-man tournament squad named on Monday, as was Mike Brown — although the Harlequins full back had fallen down the pecking order. 

The pair were reportedly involved in a confrontation during the ‘heat camp’ in Treviso earlier this month.

Eddie Jones admitted on Monday that England are braced for more disciplinary trouble

After announcing his group to go to Japan on September 8 for the global showpiece, Jones conceded that England are resigned to facing more off-field problems in the Far East. 

At the last overseas World Cup in 2011, Martin Johnson’s Red Rose squad were embroiled in a series of controversies. 

Asked if he expected it to be smoother this time, the head coach said: ‘I’ve coached for 25 years, I’ve never been confident in a team being smooth.

Ben Te’o and Mike Brown recently clashed during a training camp in Treviso, Italy

‘We’re like any family — everyone sits around the dining table, everyone enjoys good conversation but you know there are problems and we’re exactly the same.

‘We’ve got 31 sitting around the table, we can have nice conversations, but you know potentially there’s a problem.

‘All I can do is trust the players. They are adults, they’re responsible, they want to play for England, but we could have some problems. If we do, we’ll deal with them. Every team has problems.’ 

Many national teams have an emphasis on senior players taking charge of many internal disciplinary matters and Jones claimed it would be no different within the England squad — although the management may intervene if they consider it is necessary.

‘It’s always a fluid situation,’ he said. ‘When us older guys played, the senior players ran the team. ‘Nothing’s ever changed —the senior players run the team, but sometimes the coach has got to come in and tell them to pull their socks up, or pick up the bottles.

Captain Owen Farrell says England are responsible for policing their own behaviour standards

‘It seems like there’s this new phenomenon called a leadership group.

‘Ever since I’ve been involved with rugby, there have always been guys leading the team. That’s the nature of rugby and nothing’s changed.’ 

England captain Owen Farrell, whose appointment was a ‘straightforward decision’ according to Jones, will be expected to set the tone for standards of behaviour within the England squad and he added: ‘We want to police ourselves as much as we can. Being part of that means making sure that we’re being good lads and I think we have a good group.’

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