New England coach Jones salutes legacy left by Lancaster

England coach Eddie Jones at Twickenham stadium, yesterday.

England coach Eddie Jones at Twickenham stadium, yesterday.

New England head coach Eddie Jones is eager to build on a great legacy left by predecessor Stuart Lancaster.

Lancaster was heavily criticised after England became the first nation to tumble out of a home World Cup in the pool stages, which led to him standing down from his role last week.

Yet 55-year-old Australian Jones clearly sees plenty of talent in the current crop of players, believing “at least 70 per cent” of the 2015 squad can feature in four years’ time in Japan.

“It’s a very exciting opportunity,” Jones told a Twickenham press conference yesterday.

“England have won two of the last three under-20s World Cups so there’s great talent out there. For me, it’s a great opportunity to coach these players.

“The last World Cup side in 2015, at least 70 per cent of those guys can go into 2019. It’s a great legacy that Lancaster has left, there’s an opportunity to build something here.”

One issue that reared its head after England’s World Cup campaign was the non-consideration of players that do not compete in the Aviva Premiership.

The Rugby Football Union’s policy meant that the highly-rated Steffon Armitage and Nick Abendanon were not selected because they play for Toulon and Clermont Auvergne respectively in the Top 14.

In his role as a guest columnist for the Daily Mail during the World Cup, Jones name-dropped Armitage as someone who would bolster England, writing: “Steffon Armitage is pretty hard and handy over the ball and would definitely bring that quality to the England side.”

However, England’s first ever foreign coach seems content to continue selecting home-based players only.

“You always have a bit of a view when you’re outside the tent,” he said.

“I want players who want to play for England and to play for England you have to play in the Premiership, and the Premiership is a strong competition.

“Also, I’m happy with what we’ve got.”

Jones’s first game in charge will be against Scotland in Edinburgh on February 6, as England seek to end a run of four successive second-place finishes in the Six Nations championship.

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