Jones says World Cup hopefuls England have achieved nothing yet


Eddie Jones has reminded his England squad “nothing has been achieved” heading into Saturday’s World Cup warm-up match with Wales.

England claimed a 33-19 victory over the Six Nations champions on Sunday, and they face Warren Gatland’s side again in Cardiff as World Cup preparations click into gear.

Ruaridh McConnochie – included in Jones’ 31-man World Cup squad – will make his England debut at the Principality Stadium, while the visitors will be without the injured Sam Underhill and Tom Curry.

Although England’s performance against Wales last Sunday was impressive, Jones says his side know they must keep stepping up their levels as the Japan-hosted tournament, now only five weeks away, draws closer.

“The squad has been progressing well this week and I think there is a realisation among the squad now that the hard work really starts, nothing has been achieved,” Jones said.

“Our selection strategy for our second game is similar to the first, so a bit of a mix-and-match approach. We are looking at different combinations and have a particular strategy for this game.

“The game is very much about ourselves preparing for the World Cup and we are respectful that we have got such strong opposition at their home ground.”

Lewis Ludlam will make his second consecutive start, moving to openside as Courtney Lawes comes into the back row, covering for Curry, while Maro Itoje starts in place of Charlie Ewels, who did not make the cut for the World Cup.

Jones’ assistant Scott Wisemantel is confident McConnochie can thrive on his debut.

“He deserves his chance and it was unfortunate last week that he had that minor blow,” Wisemantel told a news conference.

“But I think in Cardiff on Saturday where it will be quite intense, he’ll settle into a rhythm and then he’ll be fine.”

England team to face Wales: Elliot Daly; Ruaridh McConnochie, Jonathan Joseph, Piers Francis, Joe Cokanasiga; George Ford, Willi Heinz; Ellis Genge, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Dan Cole; Joe Launchbury, Maro Itoje; Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, Billy Vunipola.

Replacements: Jamie George, Joe Marler, Kyle Sinckler, George Kruis, Jack Singleton, Ben Youngs, Owen Farrell, Manu Tuilagi.