Smith and Mercer's England chances depend on tea-making abilities, jokes Jones

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Eddie Jones joked the chances of Marcus Smith and Zach Mercer featuring for England during the November internationals depends on their tea-making abilities.

Harlequins fly-half Smith and Bath number eight Mercer were named as apprentices for the squad chosen to face Argentina at Twickenham next month, meaning they will train with the team but will not be considered for selection.

When quizzed on what the uncapped duo's roles will entail, Jones light-heartedly responded: "They make the tea, they get the paper and the paper clips when you need them. They'll put out the boots and chase some balls."

Asked to confirm there was no chance of them featuring against the Pumas, the coach joked: "Depends on how well they make the tea!"

On a more serious note, Jones spoke glowingly of Smith and Mercer's abilities but expressed concern about their physical stature at the top level.

"[Smith is a] very good young player again. He's courageous, makes good decisions at the line. He's got everything there to be a good player but he's got a long way to go," said the England boss.

"Mercer's a bit the same. He's definitely worth investing in. They're players for the future of English rugby. Whether they're players for the 2019 Rugby World Cup will depend."

British and Irish Lions flanker James Haskell was left out by Jones, but he assured the Wasps forward his international career is not over.

"I had a chat with him on Sunday. At the moment, he's just not playing well enough but the door's not shut on him," said Jones.

"He's a great player, he's been a great servant to English rugby - 70-odd caps - and I'm sure he can regain his form."

Denny Solomona was picked ahead of Marland Yarde on the wing, despite being sent home from a pre-season training camp over "team culture issues".

"He's a human being, everyone makes mistakes. He's made a mistake and he's atoned for it. We're expecting him to follow the team's culture, which he will," commented Jones.

"He wants to play for England, he understands he's done the wrong thing and I don't think he's going to do it again.

"We had a look at Marland in regards to Denny, and the number of tries Denny scored is far superior and we want tries from that wing, so Denny gets the nod."