Coach Eddie Jones selected eight uncapped players in England’s 34-man squad for this year’s Six Nations tournament.
Of those uncapped players, only Tom Dunn, Ben Earl and Ollie Thorley have been involved in previous England squads, while Fraser Dingwall, George Furbank, Alex Moon, Will Stuart and Jacob Umaga have been called up for the first time.
In addition, Jones has included only 22 players out of the 32 players who represented England at the 2019 World Cup. Jack Nowell and Billy Vunipola misses out on selection through injury, but Jack Singleton, Mark Wilson, Dan Cole, Henry Slade, Piers Francis, Joe Cokanasiga, Ben Spencer and Ruaridh McConnochie – who all featured at the World Cup – have been dropped.
Jones also invited Josh Hodge and Alex Mitchell to train with the squad as apprentices.
‘It is always about winning the next game, so we have picked the best squad available. At the same time we wanted to bring some young players in because we need to keep building our depth, so for those new players it is an exciting opportunity for them,’ Jones explained.
‘The Six Nations for us is all about raising the standards in terms of the way we prepare, tactically and physically how we play the game, and the way we come together off the field.
‘But our first task is beating France in France and that is the only game we need to worry about. We will begin our preparations in Portugal, get a bit of sun, some warm conditions and get ourselves physically and mentally right for the game.
‘The first three days will be about getting organised. We have got players from 11 clubs, so we need to get everyone on the same page quickly, spend a lot of time working on our togetherness and then by Tuesday next week we are in Test preparation for France.’
Last week Jones’ coaching staff were confirmed for the Guinness Six Nations with attack coach Simon Amor and forwards coach Matt Proudfoot joining defence coach John Mitchell and skills coach Steve Borthwick.
Forwards – Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Tom Dunn, Ben Earl, Charlie Ewels, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Ted Hill, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, Joe Marler, Alex Moon, Kyle Sinckler, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill, Mako Vunipola, Harry Williams.
Backs – Elliot Daly, Ollie Devoto, Fraser Dingwall, Owen Farrell, George Ford, George Furbank, Willi Heinz, Jonathan Joseph, Jonny May, Ollie Thorley, Manu Tuilagi, Jacob Umaga, Anthony Watson, Ben Youngs.
Apprentice players – Alex Mitchell, Josh Hodge.
Photo: Getty Images