England stars wake up after sleepless night as boss Eddie Jones makes them sweat over today’s World Cup squad announcement

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JONATHAN JOSEPH says missing out on a World Cup call would be a “kick in the teeth.”

England’s rugby wannabes will find out today if they are on the plane to Japan next month.

Jonathan Joseph’s Bath teammate Joe Cokanasiga has already booked his spot to Japan
Getty Images – Getty

Boss Eddie Jones will break the news to his players at their London hotel.

But the Bath centre looks to have booked his spot after starring in a thumping win over Wales at Twickenham.

Joseph, hoping to make it to his second finals, said: “If you are not in the squad, it will be a kick in the teeth.

“You’ve got to take it on the chin. There’s talent everywhere.”

After this morning’s announcement of the 31-man squad the players will then head to Bristol where they will train ahead of a return dust-up with Warren Gatland’s side in Cardiff on Saturday.

Joseph added: “It’s massively exciting, though, and I believe this team is going to peak at the perfect time.

“As a collective we can go to this World Cup and be successful.”

Jones has calls to make over serious injuries to Jack Nowell and Brad Shields, who face a race against time to make it.

Ben Te’o and Mike Brown are also praying for a miracle after being kicked out following their bust-up in Italy.

Flanker Tom Curry is nursing a shoulder problem and came off after 34 minutes against Wales while centre Henry Slade was seen in a knee brace and Sam Underhill in a protective boot.

Jones says all will be fine. But Wales chief Gatland could not work out why his Red Rose counterpart was naming his squad with the deadline next month.

He added: “I wouldn’t want name mine on Monday, I’ll tell you that.”

In 2015 the squad was shattered by the news that rugby league convert Sam Burgess had made it ahead of Luther Burrrell.

That controversial and late call sent shockwaves through the camp, which is why Jones is naming his picks earlier to try and avoid any dramas.

And Jonny May said: “I’ve been here for a few years now and the worst trap you can fall into is trying to second-guess what Eddie’s thinking.

“That will definitely keep you up at night and you’ll certainly never get it right either.

“Just get on with it. Trust what he’s doing. Focus on yourself. If there wasn’t the game on Sunday, it would be a bit more edgy.

“Obviously we are always doing things for the team, but you’d be kidding yourself if you said it wasn’t a bit: ‘I’ve got to get over him for that selection on Monday’.

“But now we’ve got a game, everyone’s just getting ready for the game.

“It is uncomfortable but that’s the nature of our job. That’s what we’ve got to deal with. We have pressure of playing, pressure of selection, pressure of having to perform.

“Those things are uncomfortable. But I am a big believer that if you weren’t feeling uncomfortable and it was all easy, you wouldn’t be pushing yourself to get better.”

Jones will only tell those players who miss that cut that they are not going to Japan – leaving the 31 to find out through the press or social media.

May said: “I’ll probably find out through Instagram or the press.

“Normally if you’re not involved, Eddie would give you a ring or sit you down and let you know. If not, you’ll just find out like everyone else.”

Tom Curry’s shoulder injury comes with the World Cup beckoning
PA:Press Association

Ben Youngs is set to go to his third World Cup – one of just three players in the current crop to have a crack at that alongside Dan Cole and Courtney Lawes.

The Leicester scrum-half said: “Everyone knows the selection process has to happen.

“You respect it, you have to just wait and see what decisions are made and on the back of that you can put your arm around guys and make sure they are alright or you can congratulate guys.

“We are all men and we understand that process has to happen and that’s how it is. I can only speak from previous experiences, but I believe it is definitely the right thing.

“The earlier you name it the more you can tighten up as a group and continue to work so for me it makes perfect sense.

“It’s hugely beneficial for us as a squad to know that from past experiences. You want to know and the longer you leave it the more the elephant in the room appears. ‘What’s happening?’ ‘Am I in or am I out?’ ‘Who’s going?’

“People talking about it, people wondering, people questioning every time: ‘How did I train?’ ‘Do you think that has helped?’ ‘Has it impacted?’

“Once you know the 31 you can crack on. If you leave it longer I don’t think it benefits the cohesion of the squad.

“I don’t think it benefits guys’ understanding of their roles and where they are at so for me I think it makes perfect sense that it is named early.”

Asked if Youngs had any idea of how the scrum-half muddle would pan out with Jones picking Willi Heinz to start yesterday and only ever running with two, not three 9s, he added: “I genuinely have no idea.”

“It wouldn’t change my approach if I have to play in every game.

“I don’t think it would impact me in any way. I would still prepare as if I was playing anyway even if I wasn’t involved.”

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