Marland Yarde over Chris Ashton an 'easy call to make' for Eddie Jones

Alex Morton/Getty Images

Ten tries in eight games for Saracens was not enough to get Chris Ashton on the plane to Australia; instead Eddie Jones wants to see more than just impressive domestic form as he targets players who can take England into the world's top three by next May and then global dominance by 2019.

Ashton's omission from the England squad was one of the headlines from Sunday's announcement. The Saracens winger has been in brilliant form since the 10-week suspension that saw him miss the Six Nations but Jones went for Harlequins' Marland Yarde instead, a player who has been on the England coach's radar since 2014.

"It wasn't a tough call to make; it was an easy call to make," Jones said of the decision to pick Yarde over Ashton. "Ashton has done well," Jones added. "There are parts of his game that he needs to work on.

"We feel Marland is a player with a lot of growth in him and that's important because we're a young team that is building towards the 2019 World Cup. We want players who are going to grow.

"Chris has scored a lot of tries, but there's a part of the game where you don't have the ball. I had a chat to Chris this morning [Sunday] and in my eyes he's not in the top three wings in England."

Ashton is arguably the Premiership's form winger yet Jones looks to intangibles when picking his squad. He wants to see a thirst to improve; scoring tries is not enough.

Jones has told Ashton what he needs to do to improve yet that stays between player and coach. While acknowledging, "Ashton is unlucky, he's a great finisher", Yarde has long been on Jones' radar.

He made his Test debut on England's 2013 tour of Argentina and then played against Australia in the November match later that year. He sat out the 2014 Six Nations due to a hip problem but although he started all three Tests on their June tour of New Zealand, the November series of that year marked the last of his seven caps for England.

Despite having not won a Test cap since 2014, Jones has remained a fan. It is in England's second match in Dunedin that Yarde's performance caused Jones to sit up and take notice as did his recent out-of-hours work on improving his speed.

"I always go back to the New Zealand game that England nearly won, when Marland scored that try when he ran over the top of Richie McCaw," Jones said. "If a kid can do that, he's got potential, so I've had a special interest in him.

"He's an interesting boy he wants to portray that gangster image, but he is a hard-working player. I think he can do things in our team that will really add to us."

It is this attitude, a desire to prove doubters wrong that has swayed other picks in the squad. Uncapped, young props Ellis Genge and Kyle Sinckler were included with their desire to improve and succeed impressing Jones.

"He's [Genge] a bit like Sinckler, both of them had difficult backgrounds and now they have a fantastic opportunity to make their mark in the world through rugby."

Jones added: "There is a company I did a little bit with, a blue chip company. The CEO said when he recruits people, the first thing he does is look for the people from a broken family because they are desperate to succeed and it is the same in sport.

"You want people who are desperate to succeed. It's got to mean something to them for whatever reason. That is what Sinckler has."

Jones is not one to go for the populist choice; he held Maro Itoje back at the start of the Six Nations when he was arguably England's in-form forward and the same now goes for Ashton. It was an approach Wayne Bennett, the great rugby league coach, embraced.

"One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was that if you listen to the fans you'll end up in the grandstand with them," Jones said of Bennett's snippets of wisdom and that approach may sway his call over England's starting fullback in Australia.

Saracens' Alex Goode scooped Premiership Player of the Season last week and has enjoyed a remarkable season at domestic level but Harlequins' Mike Brown started all five of England's matches in the Six Nations and the smart money is on him holding the shirt for Australia.

Mark McCall, Goode's Sarries coach, threw his weight behind Goode to be starting fullback in the wake of their semifinal win over Leicester but Jones said he is likely to stick with the three vice-captains that operated during the Six Nations for the Australia tour suggesting Brown is set to keep his starting spot.

When asked about Goode's form, Jones responded: "He's played okay. I didn't think he was great in the European Cup Final.

"I pick the sides. I pick the sides on what I need for the team; I don't pick it on popular demands."

It's the credo he hopes will lead England to their first series victory on Australian soil.