LONDON (Reuters) – Co-captain Dylan Hartley and scrumhalf Danny Care have been left out of the England’s initial Six Nations championship squad while back Mike Brown and Dan Cole were recalled by coach Eddie Jones on Thursday.
Rugby Union – England Training – Twickenham Stadium, London, Britain – November 23, 2018 England’s Dylan Hartley during training Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra
Hooker Hartley, who has 97 caps, lost his starting slot to Jamie George during the November internationals and has not played for the last three weeks because of a knee injury. He is replaced in the squad by Luke Cowan-Dickie, and though he will not feature in the opening game away to Ireland on Feb.2, he could return later in the championship.
Props Mako Vunipola and Ellis Genge, second row Joe Launchbury, number eight Billy Vunipola and flanker Tom Curry all return from injury, while Mike Brown and Dan Cole were recalled.
Jones also brought back Jack Clifford, and Ollie Devoto, who last played in 2017 and 2016 respectively, but there was no place for former captain Chris Robshaw.
There are four uncapped players in the squad – Ollie Thorley Ben Earl, Dan Robson and Jack Singleton – all given the chance to stake a claim for the World Cup in Japan later this year.
The squad of 35 will head to Portugal for a training camp next week ahead of their opening game in Dublin but Hartley, regularly lauded by Jones for his off-pitch influence, will not be among them.
“Unfortunately, Dylan won’t be available for the Ireland game so we won’t take him to Portugal but we are hopeful he will be back later in the championship,” Jones said.
After finishing fifth, their worst performance in 35 years, last season, England face the toughest of Six Nations starts away to grand slam champions Ireland.
“Ireland are the best side in the world, they are a very well coached and drilled side and have particular things they do well in the game,” Jones said. “To beat Ireland, we need to compete brutally in all the contest areas of the game.”
Jack Clifford (Harlequins)Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs)Tom Curry (Sale Sharks)Ben Earl (Saracens) *Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers)Jamie George (Saracens)Nathan Hughes (Wasps)Maro Itoje (Saracens)George Kruis (Saracens)Joe Launchbury (Wasps)Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs)Brad Shields (Wasps)Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins)Jack Singleton (Worcester Warriors) *Billy Vunipola (Saracens)Mako Vunipola (Saracens)Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs)Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons) BacksChris Ashton (Sale Sharks)Mike Brown (Harlequins)Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby)Elliot Daly (Wasps)Ollie Devoto (Exeter Chiefs)Owen Farrell (Saracens) captainGeorge Ford (Leicester Tigers)Jonny May (Leicester Tigers)Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)Dan Robson (Wasps) *Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors)Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby) *Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers) *Uncapped
Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Amlan Chakraborty