Jonny May says it is impossible to predict head coach Eddie Jones’ selection decisions as England’s players brace themselves for his World Cup squad announcement.
Jones will name his 31-man squad for the tournament in Japan on Monday – nearly four weeks before World Rugby’s September 8 deadline.
May is a regular under Jones, and reflecting on what he has learned under the Australian, he 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.”
England beat Wales 33-19 in their first World Cup warm-up match on Sunday, ending the visitors’ 14-match winning run despite Jones naming an experimental XV.
May was not included in the squad at Twickenham, and he admits he is unsure what to make of his omission as Jones prepares to announce his World Cup party.
“If he picks you this weekend, it could be the best or the worst thing,” said May. “It’s uncomfortable, but that’s the nature of our job.”
Jones’ decision to reveal his squad early is in contrast to his predecessor Stuart Lancaster, who named his 2015 World Cup squad far closer to the allotted deadline.
Lancaster ultimately disrupted team harmony by dropping centre Luther Burrell for rugby league convert Sam Burgess, and 2015 veteran Ben Youngs says he prefers Jones’ method.
“I can only speak from previous experiences, but I believe that naming the squad early is definitely the right thing,” he said.
“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.
“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?’.