Five uncapped players Eddie Jones must pick this year
By Rugby Onslaught

Five uncapped players Eddie Jones must pick this year

With just over a year to go until the Rugby World Cup, Eddie Jones will have a rough idea of how he wants his England squad to look when they arrive in France.

But the reality of England’s situation at the moment is that there are still some positions that need to be addressed. Five players were handed their debuts in Australia this year- Henry Arundell, Jack van Poortvliet, Tommy Freeman, Guy Porter and Will Joseph-, which means Jones is still searching for his perfect 23.

With that in mind, there may still time for a few more tweaks over the coming year in the autumn internationals and the Six Nations. So here are five players that could earn their first cap:

Alfie Barbeary
Wasps back row and former hooker Alfie Barbeary looked poised to make his England debut in the Six Nations after being named in Jones’ squad, but failed to make an appearance and subsequently missed out on the tour of Australia. The 21-year-old offers a brute strength with ball in hand that few, if any, loose forwards in England can match.

Ollie Hassell-Collins
England’s winger conundrum may look a little less turbid over the coming year with some of Jones’ favoured players returning from injury in the form of Anthony Watson and Jonny May, but he may still want to experiment a little. London Irish’s Ollie Hassell-Collins was in a similar position to Barbeary at the beginning of 2022 in the Six Nations, but also missed out on the Australia tour, where he saw his teammate Arundell earn his first cap instead.

Orlando Bailey
Yet another player that was in the Six Nations squad but did not travel to face the Wallabies, Bath’s Orlando Bailey could come into the picture over the coming year depending on how Jones wishes to use Marcus Smith and Owen Farrell, and whether George Ford is still in his plans. If Ford is no longer an option for Jones, the 20-year-old fly-half could be blooded into the squad.

Patrick Schickerling
Kyle Sinckler’s absence this summer allowed Jones to trial out his back-ups to the Bristol Bears tighthead, with Will Stuart and Joe Heyes being his two options. Exeter Chiefs’ Patrick Schickerling was part of the squad but was not capped, however, Jones may still want to try him out at Test level with a year to go until the World Cup.

Paolo Odogwu
Wasps’ Paolo Odogwu was on the cusp of an England debut before picking up an ACL injury in 2021. He has since returned to the England fold but is yet to be capped. With the No13 jersey still proving to be a tricky one to fill when Manu Tuilagi is not fit, Odogwu could bring his power to the England midfield, while also being a handy utility back.

Bonus: Tom Pearson
England are a awash with loose forwards at the moment, which means it will be tough for any uncapped player to get capped in that area of the field with so little time ahead of the World Cup, but London Irish’s Tom Pearson is a player that Jones clearly likes. The 22-year-old only made his Exiles debut in the October of 2021, and was in the England squad a few weeks later. He could be a surprise debutant over the coming year.