Eddie Jones upset the natural order by omitting both Vunipola brothers, Jamie George, Elliot Daly and George Ford from his latest England squad, but Mike Brown has backed the group to bounce back
England will have a different look this autumn after head coach Eddie Jones left a number of senior stars out of his latest squad, hoping to ditch some demons after his side finished fifth at this year’s Six Nations.
Both Billy and Mako Vunipola are set to miss the November fixtures against Tonga, Australia and South Africa, as are Saracens team-mates Jamie George and Elliot Daly, as well as Leicester Tigers fly-half George Ford.
But former Red Rose full-back Mike Brown doesn’t believe the international door is shut for any among that group, backing his former team-mates to get back in Jones’ good graces.
“It’s definitely not the end,” he said.
“People naturally won’t cut it at the highest level, they won’t be able to handle the international stage so there’ll be guys that drop away naturally and those guys could easily come back in.
“They are unbelievable competitors they’ve played at the highest level, they have played for England on numerous occasions, they know what they need to do and they’ll be desperate to get back in there so I’m sure that will show in their performances.”
Brown, 36, made his England debut in 2007 but didn’t cement his place as England’s go-to full-back until the summer of 2013 and earned the great bulk of his 72 caps in the five years that followed.
The veteran scored the opening try for Newcastle in his club debut against Saracens earlier in October, but the Falcons eventually succumbed 37-23 at the StoneX Stadium.
England’s loss should prove beneficial to Saracens and Leicester, who will retain those aforementioned talents at a time when their Premiership rivals will be weakened by international call-ups.
Which of England’s dropped stars do you think most deserves a place in the squad? Let us know in the comments section.
But whether impressive club form will convince Jones to reconsider is another debate, with the coach opting for a number of young and upcoming talents in a number of key areas.
George’s omission was seen as a particular surprise considering Exeter Chiefs hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie appears set for at least a few weeks on the sidelines following a recent ankle injury.
But instead of the returning British and Irish Lion, Jones has opted for inexperienced duo Jamie Blamire (23) and Nic Dolly (22), the latter of whom has bolted into the squad after starring for Leicester early on this season.
Ford and Billy Vunipola also have young, promising competition blocking their paths at fly-half and No. 8, respectively, with the Quins duo of Marcus Smith and Alex Dombrandt impressing in those positions.
Brown’s Newcastle team-mate, Adam Radwan, is another who has burst onto the scene and scored a hat-trick of tries when he made his full England debut against Canada in July.
The winger has made the step up and is now competing with the likes of Jonny May and Anthony Watson for playing time, but Brown added the 23-year-old is an “unbelievable finisher” who can reach rugby’s peak.
“But he’s gone away and also worked on, I think, the basics that you need, as a back three player at the highest level, his high ball takes, his kicking skills, his positional skills, because that’s where you can become exposed at the highest level,” he continued.
“So if he keeps progressing the way he has done, he could be one of the top players in his position in the world. It’s in his grasp if he wants to take it – if he keeps working hard like he is, there is no reason why he can’t do that.”
The Daily Mail ‘s Chris Foy predicted that new wave of talent could close out some England careers, suggesting Monday’s announcement represents the day “when several high-profile Test careers ended abruptly.”
The two-year klaxon has sounded in preparation for the 2023 Rugby World Cup, and it’s now that coaches will come under increased pressure to make their visions clear for the tournament in France.
England are blessed to have the option of leaving out such a star-studded cast for now, but Brown believes the absences of certain talismanic talents will prove strictly temporary.