Eddie Jones warned that some players who suffered a third consecutive Six Nations defeat may have played their last game for England after his side confirmed their worst finish in the competition in 35 years.
England slumped to their third consecutive defeat – and first at Twickenham in the Six Nations since 2012 – in a 24-15 defeat by the newly-crowned champions Ireland, who celebrated only their third men’s Grand Slam in their history to add to the 1948 and 2009 triumphs.
Jones meanwhile must assess what has gone so wrong for his side, having seen them go from table-toppers in 2016 and 2017 to finishing in fifth for the first time since 1983. Part of that assessment could well see certain players axed from his squad, and having made seven personnel changes for the Ireland clash following defeats by Scotland and France, the head coach is prepared to be just as ruthless ahead of the summer tour of South Africa.
“It’s been complex,” Jones said. “We’re playing without five top back-rowers and other injuries. Some guys have come in and done really well and some may struggle to participate in the future. We have to get a greater depth to our squad that can play test rugby.”
When pushed on whether he was revealing that he won’t pick certain squad members again, Jones responded: “I did not say that. I said there might be some players that don’t participate so don’t put words in my mouth please.