Eddie Jones admits ‘uncertainty’ for future after young England stars shine

Eddie Jones has admitted he may have something of a selection headache for the next Six Nations tournament after the emergence of younger stars on the international stage.

England came into this month's autumn internationals on a mission to restore confidence after suffering the ignominy of a fifth-placed finish in this year's Six Nations.

And they managed to do exactly that, producing strong victories over Tonga, Australia and South Africa which have helped to offset the reputational damage suffered.

The likes of Freddie Steward and Marcus Smith had been blooded in July tests against Canada and the USA, but really came into their own this month, putting themselves in firm contention for a spot in next year's Six Nations side.

They were particularly impressive in the 27-26 win over the Springboks, giving coach Jones another potential formula to consider in his preparations for the Six Nations.

He now says he will be spending the next couple of months refining that formula to come up with the best possible plan for the tournament.

"We seem to have a really good mix at the moment and we’ve got to find what the right thing is to put in next," he said.

"Some hydrochloric acid or a bit of sodium – we are not sure what we need next to keep it burning."

Jones admitted there is always an element of uncertainty when it comes to bringing through younger and more inexperienced players into the senior international set-up.

But the 61-year-old is positive about what might be, considering how well the current group has gelled together for the Autumn Nations Series.

"We got that summer tour squad together and you never really know," he added. "That’s probably the youngest ever squad we have ever had. But you never know how they are going to gel.

"Four or five weeks ago I was talking to a coach who won a major trophy – a major, major trophy. I said, ‘What did you do?’. He said, ‘I really don’t know, every team I get I do the same thing and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t’.

"We got those young guys together in summer and you don’t really know. We do the same things we always do, we encouraged them to work together, we encouraged them to train hard.

"For some reason there was this chemistry in that group – and it just took off. Then you have the interesting situation where you put them back with a few of the established players and again you don’t really know what’s going to happen.

"But they seem to have gelled really well, they have a nice feel about them. And when you have that nice feel they tend to fight a bit harder, they dig down a bit deeper.

"Because the tank is never empty. Sometimes you think it’s empty. They were able to find a lot of extra petrol in the tank on Saturday and for a lot of it we don’t know why."

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