Eddie Jones has taken risk with England squad selection by picking inexperienced stars

But in discarding some of his foundation stones for Japan he has all but admitted he has got his selection timing wrong during his tenure as England coach.

The absence of his long-time captain Dylan Hartley, Chris Robshaw, Danny Care and Mike Brown who, like Ben Te’o, appears to have paid the price for their dust-up on a team social night in Treviso, deprives the side of 319 Test caps.

They still have 1007 but for comparison New Zealand had 1484 when they won the World Cup four years ago.

If the World Cup is the event on which Jones’s reign will be judged – and it will – then Jones should have been bedding in their successors much earlier.

See England boss Eddie Jones’ 31-man World Cup squad here

As it is Jack Singleton, Lewis Ludlam, Willi Heinz and McConnochie will head off to the Far East having little or no idea of what international rugby is all about. A World Cup is no place for a crash course.

Heinz, in particular, will carry a heavy burden. As one of only two scrum-halves selected in the party, he will be involved in every game.

Quite what happens if either the converted Kiwi or Ben Youngs goes down injured is a mystery. George Ford has trained there occasionally but the decision to go with just two No 9s represents a risk.

So too the selection of just two tight-heads with the unfortunate Harry Williams omitted. None of the selected loose-heads have any experience there.

The balancing act involved in selecting a squad of 31 requires compromise, of course, and Jones has needed to weigh his options carefully.

Time will tell whether he has done so wisely but there is a sense of some unease with some of the calls he has made.

Possibly the oddest is the selection of Piers Francis in the backline. If Jones feels he cannot trust Te’o off the field, fine, but even Northampton season ticket holders would be surprised to learn Francis is the best alternative as a backline cover option.

Danny Cipriani must be left tearing his hair out.

If England’s first-choice 15 remains intact they do have a chance at a World Cup which has suddenly opened up with New Zealand’s issues in the Rugby Championship.

It is the back-up which is the concern – and that is where Jones has taken the gamble which will define his career as England coach.

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