As the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan looms ever closer, we take a stab at guessing the 31-man squad that will fly out to Asia in September 2019.
Mako Vunipola, Ellis Genge, Beno Obano
The notable absence here is that of Joe Marler, the Harlequins man is an international class operator at set piece and in defense. However, with his disciplinary record and the attacking edge Genge and Obano offer, we believe he will be bumped for the ever-improving Obano.
Dylan Hartley, Jamie George
While it is a gamble to take only two hookers to Japan, Jones will likely want the extra squad space for his props, given the attacking edge Sinckler offers in contrast to the solidarity of Dan Cole and Harry Williams.
Dan Cole, Harry Williams, Kyle Sinckler
Many coaches take five props and split the difference with one man able to cover both loosehead and tighthead. With the increased rarity of props able to do this these days, it is likely there will be three options on both sides of the scrum.
Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Joe Launchbury, Charlie Ewels
The second row almost picks itself, Itoje, Lawes and Launchbury are all automatic picks, leaving the fourth spot ope. for debate. Bath's Ewels has been shown some favour from Jones, mirroring a young Martin Johnson. The 21-year-old will face fierce competition from young Saracens lock Nick Isiekwe and experienced campaigner George Kruis.
Chris Robshaw, Sam Underhill, Tom Curry
Due to Itoje's and Lawes' ability to start at blindside, it is likely there will only be a few flankers in the squad. Underhill and Curry will battle it out for the seven shirt, with the tried and tested James Haskell waiting in the wings.
Billy Vunipola, Nathan Hughes, Zach Mercer
Vunipola and Hughes are obvious picks for most people, both of whom have done sterling jobs at the back of a strong England pack. Apprentice Zach Mercer gets our vote for the third spot, eding out the dynamic Sam Simmonds for a place on the plane.
Ben Youngs, Danny Care
As with hooker, picking only two men in a specialist position is a risk and one that Jones has persevered with since the start of his tenure in 2016. Willi Heinz, Richard Wigglesworth and Dan Robson will likely be the men left on standby. One of these three will see time in the England camp in the lead up to the tournament.
George Ford, Owen Farrell, Marcus Smith
While Farrell is the first choice inside centre, he is essentially a second fly-half in the way he operates. England apprentice Smith will likely graduate to a fully fledged squad member by 2019, adding that extra bit of energy to help keep the squad on their toes.
Jonathan Joseph, Henry Slade, Manu Tuilagi
Joseph and Slade are both favourites of Jones and while the same can be said of Tuilagi, he is yet to prove his fitness and form after his latest injury. His inclusion should be caveated as conditional, depending on his health. Ben Te'o will be the automatic pick should Tuilagi fail to stay fit and healthy.
Anthony Watson, Elliot Daly, Joe Cokanasiga, Jack Nowell
A tough call sees Jonny May dropped for the manmountain Joe Cokanasiga. The 20-year-old London Irish winger has caught the eye of Jones. The youngsters large frame gives him the edge in an otherwise relatively lightweight backs unit.
One specialist fullback will travel with the squad, with Anthony Watson, Elliot Daly, Jack Nowell and Henry Slade all able to cover the 15 jersey if necessary. Mike Brown is the rock of the back three, as reliable in defence as he is under the high ball.
Next cab off the rank
In addition to the traveling squad, Jones will need to keep a few men on their toes, ready to travel at a moments notice should injury strike.
Joe Marler, Jamal Ford-Robinson, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Nick Isiekwe, Sam Simmonds, Willi Heinz, Alex Lozowski, Ben Te'o, Jonny May.
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