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Thursday May 10, 2018

Eddie Jones reflects on Brad Shields and other England squad selections

Eddie Jones reflects on Brad Shields and other England squad selections

England’s 34-man squad to tour South Africa was named today, with New Zealander Brad Shields making the cut after he was cleared to be released by the New Zealand Rugby Union. Shields has never played rugby in the UK but has English parents.

Selecting a squad for the upcoming three-Test series against the Springboks has been a challenge for Jones, who is without the services of usual skipper Dylan Hartley due to concussion.

In his absence, Owen Farrell will skipper the squad.

Amongst seven new players for the tour, Ben Earl (Saracens), Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs), Dan Robson (Wasps), Shields (Hurricanes/Wasps), Ben Spencer (Saracens), Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks) and Jack Willis (Wasps) will all get opportunities.

An English Kiwi

New Zealand Rugby released Hurricanes loose forward Shields after much consideration, considering that his contract runs until the end of the Super Rugby season. Ultimately, they made an exception.

“We have taken some time to carefully work through the complexities of this request, to ensure that we gave appropriate consideration to his specific circumstances.  In the end, we are happy with the terms of his temporary release,” said a NZR statement.

“We are extremely disappointed that the RFU chose to take this unusual step in seeking this release given that Brad has not yet played rugby in England.

“We are releasing Brad with our best wishes, and we hope to see him achieve his goal of playing international rugby in June.”

Shields, born in New Zealand to English parents, appreciated the flexibility.

“I’m really appreciative that New Zealand Rugby has considered my request.  I know it’s been a complex matter for them but I’m hugely grateful for their support on this.”

Cipriani back

Danny Cipriani makes a return to the England setup having last played for his country in 2015, while Billy Vunipola is recalled after recovering from injury having last played for England in last year’s Six Nations.

Danny Care (Harlequins), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), James Haskell (Wasps) and Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens) have been rested for the tour.

England last won in South africa in 2000, and have a 23 percent win record against the Springboks in South Africa. Eddie Jones is more than aware of the challenge they face.
“Our tour to South Africa will be the most exciting challenge for us as a group since 2016. We have an opportunity to create some history next month and win the Test series, something no England side has done before. There are a number of players out injured or not selected so it provides a big opportunity for others.
“We will need to be physically aggressive and tactically smart against the Springboks who we know will be combative and reinvigorated by their new coaching setup.”

England will play South Africa in three Tests in Johannesburg (9 June), Bloemfontein (16 June) and Cape Town (23 June). All matches kick off at 17:05 local time (16:05 BST).

England squad for South Africa Tour
Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Elliot Daly (Wasps)
Nathan Earle (Saracens) *
Jonny May (Leicester Tigers)
Denny Solomona (Sale Sharks)
Danny Cipriani (Wasps)
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
George Ford (Leicester Tigers)
Alex Lozowski (Saracens)
Cameron Redpath (Sale Sharks) *
Dan Robson (Wasps) *
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
Ben Spencer (Saracens) *
Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks)
Ben Earl (Saracens) *
Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs) *
Nick Isiekwe (Saracens)
Maro Itoje (Saracens)  
Joe Launchbury (Wasps)
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Brad Shields (Hurricanes/ Wasps) *
Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens)
Jack Willis (Wasps) *
Mark Wilson (Newcastle)
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs)
Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers)
Jamie George (Saracens)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs)
Uncapped *   


  • drg
    12:57 AM 12/05/2018

    Similar to yourself, in that I was born in one country to mixed heritage parents, then lived in another until my teens, then moved to a 3rd country, now back in country of birth....I could player for 5 of the 6 nations teams based on parents/grandparents, and that's not even considering countries outside of those... #whoami? Very hard to be the judge on the matter. I noticed with Ireland recently fielding Bundee Aki, the matter was really highlighted against Irish folk, stereotypically, ginger hair, very pale and generally has a name which is easily assumed as Irish - has an O' in front of it, or they're called Paddy, or something equally stereotypical. So when a bloke takes to the field who has a sort of year round tan, and a name that perhaps doesn't 'fit the mould' as well as say CJ Stander - born in SA, Jamie Heaslip - born in Israel who are both white etc, it gets people talking. It's not a racism thing, it's a comfort thing. No one is racist, but if you know a white guy and his white wife and they have a black child - you may have some questions about the whole thing that perhaps you should or shouldn't ask. So again, who can judge this? Heaslips dad was in the military, so he was born overseas but moved back at a young age, should he be excluded? Stander has a much thicker portfolio in the country of his birth, but should he choose to leave that country and really well and truly adopt the Irish way, because he's always dreamed of living there, paying taxes there etc, should he be excluded? Or should a guy who missed the boat in his career in his home grown country trying out for another nation by residency be excluded too? Really hard to be the decider in the whole matter...

  • jimmy23
    7:52 AM 11/05/2018

    Well due to both my parents being English I consider myself to be English, even though I've never lived there. The place I've lived longest is Thailand but there's no way with my white skin, blonde hair and blue eyes I would ever get away with that. I agree that it is getting a bit silly in regards to who can play for which country. I'm still not entirely comfortable with Hughes playing for England, I still laugh at the idea that Shontayne Hape once played for us. But despite Shields never living there, he has a much stronger connection to England than a number of players who have represented us and I have no issue with it. Then again, the fact that I regard myself to be English despite never having lived there means I probably am speaking for a unusual perspective.

  • finedisregard
    6:39 PM 10/05/2018

    Identity is tricky. I've lived in different countries too and it's natural to pick things up. Still one is not "from" where they currently live, or where they have been employed for three years, or where their grandparents used to live. One is from where they had they formative experience. Citizenship should have something to do with it. This guy is a New Zealander. He's not English. Tim Visser is a Dutchmen, not a Scotsman. Dylan Hartley is tricky because he moved as a teen. Then you have the scholarship to NZ schools issues for Pacific Islanders like Joe Rockokoko. It's not cut and dry but we're heading towards a situation in which test rugby is becoming who's kiwis can beat whom. That's not good.

  • jimmy23
    4:24 PM 10/05/2018

    Glad to see Cipriani back in the mix. He's played some wonderful rugby as of late and fully deserves his call up. I'm also glad to see some dynamic, if inexperienced, back-rowers in there. I don't really get the controversy surrounding Shields. We have a number of back-row players unavailable and considering there are a fair number of new/inexperienced back-rowers in the squad I think for anyone to claim he's "leapfrogged" anyone is inaccurate. Also, his parents are both English, therefore he's fully entitled to play for England if he so desires. Plenty of other players out there have had weaker connections to the national side they've ended up playing for anyway. I realise as someone who grew up an expat I might be speaking from a certain perspective but I find it silly that there are people who feel they can claim where he is or isn't from.


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Eddie Jones reflects on Brad Shields and other England squad selections | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos