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'It wouldn’t be an Eddie Jones squad without a few surprises': Steve Scott on England head coach's Rugby World Cup picks

Lewis Ludlam, Jack Singleton and Ruaridh McConnochie will be playing their first full England Rugby season. Credit: PA

It wouldn’t be an Eddie Jones squad without a few surprises and England’s head coach hasn’t disappointed.

He’s gone early for a start as World Rugby don’t require squad lists until next month.

The theory being the closer you get to D-Day, the greater the negative tension in the camp as players worry about whether they’ll make it or not.

Then there are the rookies. Uncapped Ruaridh McConnochie who is in his first full season of top flight professional rugby is in, so are newly capped Jack Singleton and Lewis Ludlam.

  • Ruaridh McConnochie: 'We found out through WhatsApp'

McConnochie won an Olympic silver medal in Rugby 7s in Rio and only returned to the fifteen-a-side game with Bath a year ago.

He’s played a dozen Premiership matches and admitted today he never dreamt for one minute he’d be part of England’s world cup adventure.

Last summer, Ludlam was struggling to persuade a club to give him a job - today, he’s pinching himself.

On those selections, Jones says he’s always keen to include new players because it "freshens everything up."

  • Lewis Ludlam: 'If you told me I'd be in this position last year, I'd tell you you're crazy'

He also believes they could hold an advantage when they get to Japan because the opposition won’t know much about them.

Ben Te’o was expected to make the final cut but does not, potentially due to a bust up with Mike Brown during a squad bonding session in Italy, from which both players were sent home. Brown is not included either. Other big names like Chris Robshaw, Danny Care and Danny Cipriani were effectively discarded a while ago.

  • Eddie Jones on rookies: 'You take them to the World Cup and the opposition don't know a lot about them'

Never one to be second guessed, England’s head coach also rows against convention by naming only two scrum halves. And the understudy to his number one choice Ben Youngs is Willi Heinz, who only won his first cap this weekend in the win over Wales at Twickenham.

"There’s risk involved in it", Jones admits before adding: "but there’s risk elsewhere too" - suggesting if he added a third scrum half that would mean he’d end up short somewhere else.

He even suggested George Ford could fill in there as an emergency.

You’d expect none of these young guns to feature heavily in Japan but then that is the thing with Eddie Jones: he’s always capable - enjoys, even - his capacity to shock.