Saracens boss backs trio to regain England places
SPOTLIGHT: Mark McCall believes there’s still time for the Saracens trio of Jamie George, Mako Vunipola and Billy Vunipola to regain their Test places in time for the November internationals after they were all dramatically dropped by England coach Eddie Jones.
George and the Vunipola brothers were among several high-profile absentees when Jones announced a 45-man provisional squad for the Twickenham fixtures against Tonga, Australia and world champions South Africa.
Both hooker George and prop Mako Vunipola are set to return to action with Saracens in the next few weeks following rest periods due to their stints with the British and Irish Lions in South Africa, along with teammates Maro Itoje and Owen Farrell.
Saracens rugby director McCall met with England coach Jones ahead of last week’s squad announcement and is confident the door has not been closed on Red Rose selection for the exiled trio.
“We discussed each player – he didn’t tell me who was going to be in the squad and who was going to not be in the squad,” McCall said Wednesday of his talks with Jones.
“Obviously for some of our players, it was disappointing. But knowing those players and knowing how motivated they are to play for England, I think Eddie wants to see a response and I’m sure you’ll see that.”
The former Ireland international added: “We want them to play for their country.
“If this is a provisional squad, there’s a proper squad going to be announced around October 8, so let’s see what happens with that squad and see if anybody has the chance to catch Eddie’s eye in between those two things.
“But Eddie knows the quality of those players, he’s worked with them for a long time and if he sees what he hopes to see which is the hunger and drive which is necessary to play at that level then hopefully they’ve got the opportunity to get back into the squad.”