By Jake Goodwill
- Eddie Jones selects his 32 man squad to tour Australia.
- Uncapped Ben Te’o, Kyle Sinckler, Teimana Harrison and Ellis Genge get the nod
- Chris Ashton and Danny Cipriani are left out of the squad.
TWICKENHAM, ENGLAND – Eddie Jones announced his squad to take on the Wallabies in Australia, in June.
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He has picked a squad largely made up of his Grand Slam winning side with the additions of four potential debutants in Ben Te’o, Kyle Sinckler, Teimana Harrison and Ellis Genge. Chris Ashton was the notable shock omission having been pencilled in by most pundits. Instead Harlequins’ flyer Marland Yarde was given the nod over Christian Wade, Semesa Rokoduguni and Ashton.
Danny Cipriani failed to make the cut and the fact that Jones has opted for only one out and out fly-half in the warm-up against Wales instead of selecting Cipriani suggests he will struggle to play for a Jones side.
With Joe Marler ruling himself out of the tour to get himself right mentally and physically, alongside Alex Corbisiero’s continuing absence, England were always going to be weakened in this position. The third spot behind the established Mako Vunipola and reliable Matt Mullan was up for grabs.
A somewhat unknown quantity in Ellis Genge has been selected to fill that void. He is on loan from Bristol to Leicester Tigers and played the last 30 minutes or so in yesterday’s Premiership semi-final. Genge is a talented player who has represented England U20’s but at only 21 years of age and lacking experience it is a left field selection.
Personally I think that Alex Waller should have taken the third spot. He has consistently started for Northampton performing excellently. He was the first player to make 100 consecutive appearances in the Premiership and has represented the England Saxons. If one of Vunipola or Mullan were to go down injured I think England will regret not taking Waller.
England have stuck with their top three options from the Six Nations in skipper Dylan Hartley, Jamie George and Luke Cowan-Dickie. With the latter two being involved in the Premiership final Tommy Taylor will have the chance to make his England debut against Wales. These four players are all class acts and with Harry Thacker having had a brilliant season for Leicester England look set fare in this position.
Dan Cole, Paul Hill and Kyle Sinckler have been selected. The surprise here is that uncapped Sinckler has been selected over Kieran Brookes who was also in the Brighton training squad. Brookes has been playing for England for a while and before the World Cup was pushing Cole hard for the starting spot.
His performances have been poor for Northampton since the Six Nations and in the week Jones spoke of his admiration for Sinckler’s competitive edge. Having watched Sinckler for a few years at Harlequins there is undoubtedly a superb rugby player there to be developed and hopefully Jones can aid that. There is an element of risk here as Hill only has one cap and Sinckler is uncapped. But I think this selection is the right one.
The standard quarter of George Kruis, Maro Itoje, Joe Launchbury and Courtney Lawes have been picked. Not much to add here is these four pick themselves. With the dynamic Saracens duo unavailable for the Wales game Dave Attwood returns to the set up for that match which is good to see considering the injuries he has had in the last year.
Chris Robshaw, James Haskell, Billy Vunipola and Jack Clifford all retain their places from the Six Nations with the exciting Teimana Harrison taking the last spot on tour. He has been in incredible form for Northampton and his ability to play across the back-row gives him an edge over the likes of Matt Kvesic.
This is a positive selection from Jones who is rightly rewarding domestic form. It is an important tour for Clifford and Harrison who need to establish themselves as Nathan Hughes becomes available after June. Dave Ewers can count himself unlucky to miss out who has been excellent for Exeter. I would have liked to seen him on tour as well.
Jones sticks with his policy of only selecting two scrum-halves with Danny Care and Ben Youngs chosen. It would have been interesting to see who he would have selected as his third choice with Joe Simpson competing for a place in the GB sevens squad at the Olympics.
Dan Robson and Will Chudley have both had excellent seasons and could be required as back up if an injury occurs.
George Ford, Owen Farrell and Henry Slade are England’s selected options for the number 10 jersey in Australia although both Farrell and Slade could end up playing in the centres.
Cipriani misses out which is shame as he is so talented and has played well for Sale. I would have picked him to be on the bench against Wales but I do not think he is in England’s top three prospects at fly-half.
Elliot Daly, Jonathan Joseph, Manu Tuilagi and newly available Te’o are the out and out centres in the squad but as mentioned Farrell and Slade both provide strong options for the centres if not selected at fly-half. England are in the situation of now having a brilliant array of options but selecting a partnership will be difficult.
Personally I think Slade is the best of the bunch and has to start. Finding his partner will not be easy. Te’o has only just become an option as he moves from Leinster to Worcester in the summer. He qualifies through his English mother and his reputation in the NRL and then at Leinster marks him as a strong contender. It will be interesting to watch his progression. He is a far superior rugby union player than Sam Burgess and Joel Tomkins, who tried before him.
Here is the biggest surprise of the lot. Mike Brown, Alex Goode, Jack Nowell, Anthony Watson and Ashton were all assumed to have a place. But Jones has left out Ashton and picked Marland Yarde. Ashton is undoubtedly superior to Yarde. He has flaws but his finishing is world-class.
The strange thing about this situation is that Ashton was selected in the provisional squad for the Six Nations before being banned. His form has been excellent so Jones not picking him cannot be for performances which are just as good as when he was selected previously.
All of this is not to say that Yarde is a bad player. He is talented and a stronger carrier than most England wingers. His performances against New Zealand in 2014 showed much promise. However his form has been worse than Ashton, Wade and Rokoduguni this season. A strange decision.
England senior 32-man squad for Australia tour:
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs)
Jack Clifford (Harlequins)
Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers)
Jamie George (Saracens)
Teimana Harrison (Northampton Saints)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
James Haskell (Wasps)
Paul Hill (Northampton Saints)
Maro Itoje (Saracens)
George Kruis (Saracens)
Joe Launchbury (Wasps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Matt Mullan (Wasps)
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Elliot Daly (Wasps)
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
George Ford (Bath Rugby)
Alex Goode (Saracens)
Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors)
Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)
Marland Yarde (Harlequins)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
The England tour of Australia begins on 11 June.
Jake Goodwill is a History student at the University of Bristol who covers Cricket and Rugby Union for Britwatch Sports. Find him on twitter @jakegoodwill1. Check out his blog HERE
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