Eddie Jones has announced his England squad ahead of the 2017 Six Nations, with three uncapped players in the group.
The 34-man squad will train in Portugal between January 22-27 before assembling at Pennyhill Park to prepare for their opening match against France at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday, February 4.
Jones has named three uncapped players in a squad made up of 20 forwards and 14 backs. Back-row forward Mike Williams (Leicester Tigers) is included alongside prop Nathan Catt (Bath) and back Alex Lozowski (Saracens)
“I’ve been impressed with the three uncapped players named in the squad,” said Jones.
“They’re all guys who have great physical capabilities and they all have a desire to improve. With a number of injuries to some key players it’s a great opportunity for them.”
There are also returns for James Haskell (Wasps), Maro Itoje (Saracens), Anthony Watson (Bath), Jack Clifford (Harlequins) and Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs) who were unavailable for selection during the autumn.
“It’s good to welcome back a number of players who weren’t with us during the autumn,” said Jones.
“This time last year I said that the long-term strategy for England is to develop a side who can be the most dominant team in world rugby. Obviously I’ve been pleased with how the team’s progressing, but there’s still plenty to improve on.”
Joining Jones’ backroom team will be visual awareness coach Dr Sherylle Calder, who will work with the team on a consultancy basis.
Dr Calder, who helps improve players’ peripheral vision, their reaction times and co-ordination, has been involved with two Rugby World Cup winning teams and has worked with a number of high-profile athletes across a multitude of different sports.”I think she is really going to add an edge to the players’ preparation.”
“2017 for us is about building really strong foundations for the team and making sure our fundamental skills are improving,” said Jones.
“Part of that is hand-eye co-ordination and our ability to handle the ball adroitly – Dr Sherylle Calder is an expert in that field.
“She has won two gold medals, 2003 with England and 2007 with South Africa, I used her extensively when I coached in Japan and had success with her then. I think she is really going to add an edge to the players’ preparation.”
England squad for the Six Nations
Forwards: Nathan Catt (Bath), Jack Clifford (Harlequins), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Charlie Ewels (Bath), Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers), Jamie George (Saracens), Teimana Harrison (Northampton Saints), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints) , James Haskell (Wasps), Nathan Hughes (Wasps), Maro Itoje (Saracens), George Kruis (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Matt Mullan (Wasps) , Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Tommy Taylor (Wasps) , Mike Williams (Leicester Tigers), Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)
Backs: Mike Brown (Harlequins), Danny Care (Harlequins), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Bath), Jonathan Joseph (Bath), Alex Lozowski (Saracens), Jonny May (Gloucester), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs) , Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors), Anthony Watson (Bath), Marland Yarde (Harlequins), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)