December 12, 2019, 16:08

The evolution of England’s Rugby World Cup squad

The evolution of England’s Rugby World Cup squad

England head coach Eddie Jones has finalised his World Cup party the day after beating Wales 33-19 at Twickenham in their first warm-up match for the tournament. 

Uncapped Bath back Ruaridh McConnochie was the surprise call-up as Jones named his official 31-man squad on Monday, and the squad has been taking shape over many months.

England face Wales in Cardiff, and Ireland at Twickenham, before their final pre-World Cup game, against Italy in Newcastle on Friday September 6, with all internationals live on Sky Sports.

  • Jones names final England World Cup squad
  • England 33-19 Wales: Jones’ experiment pays off

Jones’ announcement has been a long time in the making. Sky Sports looks at how the England squad has evolved since the start of the year.

Wales vs England

August 17, 2019, 1:15pm

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Get Sky Sports Get a Sky Sports pass January 17: England’s initial 2019 Six Nations Squad

Headlines: Knee injury keeps Dylan Hartley out

In his place, Luke Cowan-Dickie was included in a 35-man squad for the Six Nations, as was Jack Singleton, who was one of four uncapped call-ups along with Ollie Thorley, Dan Robson and Ben Earl.

There were recalls for Jack Clifford and Ollie Devoto while Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola, Ellis Genge and Joe Launchbury returned having missed the autumn internationals through injury.

Chris Robshaw was listed as unavailable due to injury, although he was later called up, but Danny Care found himself out in the cold.

  • May: You can’t second guess Jones
  • England, Wales given injury scares

Anthony Watson remained out through injury but Joe Cokanasiga was back from a knee injury to take his place after winning his first two caps during the autumn, while Jonathan Joseph joined up with the squad on March 4 following his injury lay-off.

Mike Brown and Dan Cole were also included despite falling out of favour in 2018, while there was the welcome return of Manu Tuilagi, seeking his first Six Nations appearance since 2016.

Forwards

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).

Backs

Chris Ashton (Sale Sharks), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Ollie Devoto (Exeter Chiefs), Owen Farrell (Saracens) captain, George 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)

Players unavailable due to injury

Piers Francis (Northampton Saints), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby), Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby).

June 20: England’s first Rugby World Cup training camp

Headlines: England omit former captains Hartley and Robshaw

Jones announced a 29-man squad on June 20 to attend England’s training camp at Pennyhill Park.

Alex Dombrandt, Lewis Ludlam, McConnochie and Val Rapava Ruskin all received their first call ups.

But former captains Hartley and Robshaw were omitted, while senior players Care and Nathan Hughes were also left out.

The absence of Hartley and Robshaw was all the more significant given Jones was unable to select players who had featured in the Premiership play-offs.

Forwards

Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins), Tom Dunn (Bath Rugby), Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby), Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints), Val, Rapava Ruskin (Gloucester Rugby), Nick Schonert (Worcester Warriors), Brad Shields (Wasps), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Jack Singleton (Worcester Warriors), Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby), Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons)

Backs

Chris Ashton (Sale Sharks), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Joe Cokansiga (Bath Rugby), Elliot Daly (Wasps), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Ruaridh McConnochie (Bath Rugby), Dan Robson (Wasps), Marcus Smith (Harlequins), Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Players unavailable due to injury

George Kruis (Saracens), Mako Vunipola (Saracens)

June 28: England’s second Rugby World Cup training camp

Headlines: Danny Cipriani earns recall, Willi Heinz puts his name in the frame

Gloucester fly-half Cipriani joined up with the training camp at the Lensbury Club to spark hope he would be included in the final 31-man party travelling to Japan.

Voted the Premiership player of the year by his peers last season, Cipriani was joined by fellow Gloucester players Willi Heinz and Ollie Thorley as well as Northampton pair Piers Francis and Courtney Lawes.

Forwards

Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins), Tom Dunn (Bath Rugby), Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby), Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints), Val Rapava Ruskin (Gloucester Rugby), Nick Schonert (Worcester Warriors), Brad Shields (Wasps), Jack Singleton (Worcester Warriors), Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby), Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons).

Backs

Mike Brown (Harlequins), Danny Cipriani (Gloucester Rugby), Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby), Elliot Daly (Wasps), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), Piers Francis (Northampton Saints), Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby), Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Ruaridh McConnochie (Bath Rugby), Dan Robson (Wasps), Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors), Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).

Players unavailable due to injury

George Kruis (Saracens), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Mako Vunipola (Saracens).

July 14: Brown back in contention as Cipriani trains off-site

Headlines: Mike Brown is handed the chance to show his worth at England’s second World Cup training camp; he is added alongside team-mates Dombrandt and Marcus Smith, Gloucester’s Thorley and Bath Rugby’s Tom Dunn.

Danny Cipriani heads off-site to carry out specialised strength and conditioning work.

Forwards

Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins), Tom Dunn (Bath Rugby), Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby), Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers), Jamie George (Saracens), Maro Itoje (Saracens), George Kruis (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs), Brad Shields (Wasps), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 22 caps), Jack Singleton (Saracens, uncapped), Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 41 caps), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs), Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons/Sale Sharks)

Backs

Mike Brown (Harlequins), Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby), Elliot Daly (Saracens), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Leicester Tigers),Piers Francis (Northampton Saints), Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby), Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Ruaridh McConnochie (Bath Rugby), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Marcus Smith (Harlequins), Ben Spencer (Saracens), Ben Te’o (unattached), Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

July 22: The Treviso training camp

Headlines: Cipriani is left out, Sam Underhill and Anthony Watson are recalled, Brown back, Ben Moon omitted, while Joe Marchant is called up.

A sign of things to come for Cipriani. The Premiership player of the year was not among a 38-man group travelling to Italy for the 12-day camp.

Cipriani was handed words of encouragement, however, as Jones announced: “We have left some good players doing work at their clubs and they must be ready if called up.”

Underhill and Anthony Watson had joined Cipriani as part of a small group of players working off-site in Bristol, but the pair were both named for the trip to Treviso.

Despite injury concerns, Mako Vunipola, lock George Kruis, and wing Jack Nowell were all included, while Brown was also called up after initially missing out on selection.

Forwards

Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby), Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers), Jamie George (Saracens), Maro Itoje (Saracens), George Kruis (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler, (Harlequins), Brad Shields (Wasps), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Jack Singleton (Saracens), Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs), Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons/Sale Sharks)

Backs

Mike Brown (Harlequins), Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby), Elliot Daly (Saracens), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), Piers Francis (Northampton Saints), Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby), Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby), Joe Marchant (Harlequins), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Ruaridh McConnochie (Bath Rugby), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Ben Spencer (Saracens), Ben Te’o (unattached), Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

August 12: Jones names final England World Cup squad

Headlines: Ben Te’o and Brown are both left out after camp altercation, Hartley absent, Cipriani out, McConnochie in.

Luke Cowan-Dickie was among the try scorers in England’s experimental side that ended Wales’ 14-match winning run and prevented their rivals from replacing New Zealand at the top of the rugby rankings.

The previously uncapped Ludlam started in the back row after Underhill picked up a foot injury, and the Northampton flanker put in some thumping tackles to rubber-stamp his place on the plane.

Willi Heinz looked snappy and self-assured on his Test debut, the 32-year-old ticked many boxes for Jones with his crisp passing before making way for Ben Youngs after 50 minutes.

Having excelled at The Rec, McConnochie completed a dramatic elevation in making the final World Cup squad as one of six back-three players.

The concerns over Jack Nowell’s fitness have perhaps worked in his favour, with the pair joining Joe Cokanasiga, Elliot Daly, Anthony Watson, Jonny May in providing the firepower.

The World Cup in Japan runs from September 20 to November 2.

England’s World Cup squad

Forwards

Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers), Jamie George (Saracens), Maro Itoje (Saracens), George Kruis (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler(Harlequins, 58 caps), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Jack Singleton (Saracens), Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons/Sale Sharks)

Backs

Source: skysports.com

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