Rugby World Cup: Eddie Jones names England squad

Coach Eddie Jones has named his 31-man England Rugby World Cup squad with Piers Francis a surprise inclusion among the centres.

Ben Te’o was expected to make the cut for the squad but the 32-year-old back was reportedly involved in a bust-up with teammate Mike Brown during a social event at the England squad’s training camp in Italy.

The squad will be captained by Owen Farrell who will enjoy his second Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Former Sevens star Ruaridh McConnochie was the only uncapped player named in the 31-strong group. McConnochie has enjoyed a great season with Bath. The strong-running fullback scored four tries in the Premiership and carried the ball for over 800 metres at an average gain of 16.4 metres per carry.

Willi Heinz, flank Lewis Ludlam and hooker Jack Singleton, who made their debuts in Sunday’s 33-19 World Cup warm-up defeat of Wales were also selected for RWC Japan 2019.

Springboks eager to maintain momentum into Rugby World Cup

17 members of the squad have been to a Rugby World Cup before and they share more than 1,000 international caps between them. Dan Cole, Courtney Lawes and Ben Youngs will play in their third World Cups. Cole and Youngs are the most capped in the squad with 86 Test appearances to their names.

Youngs and Heinz are the only two scrum-halves in the group, a gamble from the man who masterminded Japan’s 2015 upset over the Springboks.

Jones said: “Today is another step in the progress towards the Rugby World Cup. We have taken the decision to go early because of what we learned from previous campaigns. We want the squad to know early and now we can get on and be the best prepared England side there has ever been, ready to win the World Cup.”

On the players not selected Jones added: “A lot of good players have missed out, we feel for them, I feel for them personally. But as we know the Rugby World Cup is an incredible tournament where opportunities can present themselves and all those players who have missed out have been told they have to be ready.”

England 2019 Rugby World Cup squad

Forwards

Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 86 caps)

Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 12 caps)

Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 11 caps)

Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 10 caps)

Jamie George (Saracens, 37 caps)

Maro Itoje (Saracens, 27 caps)

George Kruis (Saracens, 32 caps)

Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 59 caps)

Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 72 caps)

Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 1 cap)

Joe Marler (Harlequins, 58 caps)

Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 22 caps)

Jack Singleton (Saracens, 1 cap)

Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 9 caps)

Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 42 caps)

Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 53 caps)

Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons/Sale Sharks, 13 caps)

Backs

Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 5 caps)

Elliot Daly (Saracens, 31 caps)

Owen Farrell (Saracens, 70 caps)

George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 56 caps)

Piers Francis (Northampton Saints, 5 caps)

Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, 1 cap)

Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 41 caps)

Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 45 caps)

Ruaridh McConnochie (Bath Rugby, uncapped)

Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 33 caps)

Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 22 caps)

Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 33 caps)

Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 34 caps)

Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 86 caps)

The Rugby World Cup gets underway on 20 September when hosts Japan take on Russia in the tournament opener. England begin their Rugby World Cup campaign against Tonga on 22 September.

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