Eddie Jones left bad boys Ben Te’o and Mike Brown out of his Rugby World Cup squad – then admitted England could have disciplinary issues in Japan.
The pair, who were involved in an altercation during England’s warm-weather training camp a fortnight ago, failed to make the 31-man list.
Jones refused to confirm the reason for their omission but said he could not rule out off-field problems at the tournament itself.
“I’ve coached for 25 years, I’ve never been confident in a team being smooth,” said the Australian. “We’re like any family – everyone sits around the dining table, everyone enjoys good conversation but you know there are problems and we’re exactly the same.
“We’ve got 31 sitting around the table, we can have nice conversations. You know potentially there’s a problem. All I can do is trust the players – they are adults, they’re responsible, they want to play for England.
“We could have some problems. If we do, we’ll deal with them.”
England’s last overseas Rugby World Cup campaign, in 2011, was scarred by controversy on and off the field. From dwarf tossing to jumping off ferries, Martin Johnson’s squad brought little credit on themselves in New Zealand.
But England captain Owen Farrell insists the senior players will guard against any repeat.
“As far as going forward as a group, we want to police ourselves as much as we can,” he said.
“The thing of being part of that is making sure that we’re being good lads and I think we have a good group, yeah.”
Asked if he had any theory as to why things turned sour for England in 2011, Jones replied: “Maybe the selection was wrong.
“Every team has problems. I’m sure we’ll have our problems and we’ll deal with it.”
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