Danny Cipriani has missed out on a place in Eddie Jones’ squad for the autumn internationals, leaving his World Cup dream in serious doubt.
The fly-half was left out of England’s training camp meet-up last month as preparations built towards November Tests against South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and Australia.
Despite a stellar start to his career at Kingsholm after an impressive season at Wasps last campaign, Cipriani’s run of consistent performances have proved in vain, as Jones continues to stick with his relied upon duo of George Ford and Owen Farrell at the position.
After starring for Exeter Chiefs, Don Armand is another player who has been banging on the door for an international return but can’t force his way through into the fold.
Jones has, however, been boosted by the return of captain Dylan Hartley who has been held out of action for a period following a series of concussions. The Northampton Saints hooker will share leadership roles with Owen Farrell.
Injuries to first-choice back row players Chris Robshaw and Billy Vunipola have seen the opportunity passed Saracens flanker Michael Rhodes and Gloucester number 8 Ben Morgan.
South Africa-born Rhodes, who has passed residency criteria to become eligible, is one of seven uncapped players named in Jones’ 36-man squad.
Wings Joe Cokanasiga, Nathan Earle, back row Ted Hill, props Ben Moon and Nick Schonert and lock Elliott Stooke are all in with a shot at making their England debuts.
“I’m really happy with the squad,” Jones told the England Rugby website.
“We can only control what we can control and injuries have happened. It gives an opportunity for some good new players to play some important Tests for England while players who have been in the squad before, will have to take on more responsibility.”
“I have named Dylan and Owen as co-captains for the series. They have both been excellent captains for England in the past and will provide a powerful leadership base for us on and off the field.”
Jones added: “With the World Cup in mind, we are going to Portugal in the middle of next week until the Thursday of the test week so will be back to train at Twickenham the day before we play South Africa,” he said.
“The camp is about getting the team organised.
“The players have all been playing in different systems and with different ideas at their clubs so it’s about producing a team that is absolutely brutal in the physical contest, as the game demands, and also playing a smart English brand of rugby.”
Forwards: Alec Hepburn, Ben Moon*, Harry Williams, Kyle Sinckler, Nick Schonert*, Dylan Hartley (co-capt), Jamie George, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Courtney Lawes, Charlie Ewels, Elliott Stooke*, Tom Curry, Sam Underhill, Brad Shields, Michael Rhodes*, Mark Wilson, Ted Hill*, Zach Mercer, Ben Morgan.
Backs: Danny Care, Ben Youngs, Richard Wigglesworth, Owen Farrell (co-capt), George Ford, Henry Slade, Ben Te’o, Manu Tuilagi, Alex Lozowski, Elliot Daly, Chris Ashton, Jonny May, Jack Nowell, Nathan Earle*, Joe Cokanasiga*, Mike Brown.
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