Exclusive: Ugo Monye Says Lack Of Experience Won't Stop England's World Cup Bid
England's starting XV against Tonga might be full of experience but later in the tournament Eddie Jones might have to rely on some less experienced players, something Ugo Monye thinks isn't an issue.
In picking his squad for Japan, Jones dispensed of long serving captain Dylan Hartley and former captain Chris Robshaw as well as Danny Care and Mike Brown, with the likes of Ruaridh McConnochie, Lewis Ludlam, Jack Singleton and Willi Heinz preferred instead.
That might seem a bold strategy but former England winger Monye, now working as an ambassador for Rugby X, thinks that most teams have gone for a similar trend. Speaking to SPORTbible exclusively the former Lion said, "I think you've seen that right across the world. Someone like Aaron Franks has been dropped from the NZ squad with over 100 caps, you've seen Samson Lee dropped from Wales, Ireland with Devon Toner and people are stepping away from picking experience for experience sake.
"The England squad might be lacking in experience but I think in terms of talent there's bag loads of it.
"The other think I struggle with is sport is subjective and if you had 15 coaches they'd all pick different teams and one thing I'm confident in, Eddie Jones with his coaching experience, he knows what a good player looks like, he knows how to pick a squad and he certainly knows how to win so whatever my thoughts and feelings might be, you certainly can't question the quality or the thought process of Eddie Jones."
The former Harlequins winger does think that experience may still be key to the Red Roses winning what he says is the most open World Cup to date.
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Talking about England's chances it's the coaches experience he thinks will come to the fore, adding, "I think England have every chance of going all the way, absolutely. I do also think it's the most open World Cup that I've ever seen. In 2015 I thought it was fairly obvious who was going to be in the final, in New Zealand and Australia.
"Looking at England's development over the last few years and form over the summer I've got every bit of confidence that we have a team that could go out and win the tournament. Not only do we have a great squad and a fantastic captain in Owen Farrell but you look at the coaching staff and the experience we've got there. You've got Eddie Jones, this is his fourth World Cup, he's won a World Cup, he knows exactly what it takes to win it. Then you've got John Mitchell, who's been to countless World Cups and coached the All Blacks."
England have all the pieces, and they've selected their strongest ones for the opening match against Tonga on Sunday, now they just have to hope they all fit together in the next seven weeks.
Without the 100s of caps left at home this could be Jones' biggest masterstroke and his best experience to date.
Tickets for RugbyX, on October 29 at the O2 Arena are available here https://www.rugbyx.com/tickets/