Eddie Jones sends stark warning to England players

Eddie Jones has issued his English players a stern warning - play overseas, and say goodbye to your national career. Photo / Photopsport
Eddie Jones has issued his English players a stern warning - play overseas, and say goodbye to your national career. Photo / Photopsport

According to Eddie Jones, there is "no choice" to be made.

England's head coach has rammed home the message that if George Ford opts to go to France, he can say goodbye to his Test career.

Reports in the French media on Monday claimed that the fly-half is a prime transfer target for Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal, who recently promoted Mike Ford - George's father - to the role of head coach at his club. Amid lingering uncertainty about George's future at Bath, there are Gallic rumours he is open to the idea of a move to the Cote d'Azur.

However, the RFU have enforced a policy against picking overseas-based players for England since 2011 - and it has served a purpose in preventing an exodus across the Channel. In response to the speculation about Ford, Jones reiterated his strident support for the union's stance.

"I need to speak to George about it," Jones said. "Obviously we don't want to lose him but ultimately, he's got to make a decision about whether he wants to play for England.

"He's responsible for his own decision. We want him to play for England. You sign for a French club, you don't play for England. If he doesn't want to play for England, so be it."

Asked if he endorsed the RFU's approach to a subject which has become a global issue, Jones added: "I think it's right. It protects English rugby for the long term. You've only got to look at what's happened in France where you've allowed foreign players to escalate to over 50-60 per cent and you have massive problems for the national team.

"It's a desire thing. You've got to have the desire to want to play for England. If you want to play for England, you play for an English club - it's simple."

Only twice has Ford lost a match he has started for England. In 19 Test starts his only defeats came in 2015 to France and Ireland. But four of the seven times he's come off the bench, England have lost.

Jones held up the Kiwi model as a good example of how a restrictive selection policy works, adding: "They're looking out for the future of New Zealand rugby. They've got vibrant competition in their ITM Cup because they have that rule.

"If they took away that rule their ITM Cup would no longer be a competition because those fringe players would be all over the world playing. Players in New Zealand make the decision about whether they want to play for the All Blacks or not.

"Let's get one thing straight here: we want to be the No 1 team in the world. To be the No 1 team in the world, we need players who are absolutely desirous to play for England. So there is no choice here. The choice is if you want to play for England or not."

- Daily Mail

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW
Stats provided by

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf03 at 24 Jan 2017 15:32:55 Processing Time: 507ms