Vunipola brothers and George Ford left out by England
England head coach Eddie Jones has omitted five senior players including the Vunipola brothers and occasional captain George Ford from his squad.
Billy and Mako Vunipola are missing and also absent from the 45-man training group that will meet in south-west London for a three-day camp on Sunday are their Saracens team-mates Jamie George and Elliot Daly.
Completing the list of purged veteran Test stars who have been mainstays of the Jones era is Ford, the Leicester Tigers fly-half who has been one of Australian’s most trusted lieutenants.
Changing of the guard?
Like Billy Vunipola, Ford was given the summer off rather than play in the July Tests against the United States and Canada.
Mako Vunipola, Daly and George were involved in the recent British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa yet cannot win places in the squad that will begin preparations for matches against Tonga, Australia and South Africa.
While some, or even all, of the omissions may be intended as warning shots across the bows of under-performing players, it could yet represent the biggest changing of the guard of Jones’ reign.
Other seasoned campaigners Ben Youngs, Owen Farrell, Courtney Lawes, Joe Marler, Jonny May and Anthony Watson have survived the cull.
Nine of the 16 new caps awarded against the USA and Canada are present in Jamie Blamire, Trevor Davison, Alex Dombrandt, Joe Heyes, Lewis Ludlow, Adam Radwan, Harry Randall, Marcus Smith and Freddie Steward.
And there are eight uncapped players in Mark Atkinson, Jack Kenningham, Louis Lynagh, Gabriel Oghre, Raffi Quirke, Sam Riley, Bevan Rodd and Ollie Sleightholme.
“This is an exciting squad made up of experienced players and young guys who did well in the summer and have earned their place again,” Jones said.
“We have left out some experienced players but we’re really clear that the door isn’t closed to them and we’re looking forward to seeing them work hard to get back into contention.
“We have five campaigns now until the 2023 World Cup so each one counts, and this is a chance for this 45 to impress the new coaching staff.”
England’s 45-player training squad
Forwards: Jamie Blamire, Callum Chick, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Trevor Davison, Alex Dombrandt, Charlie Ewels, Ellis Genge, Joe Heyes, Jonny Hill, Ted Hill, Maro Itoje, Jack Kenningham, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, Lewis Ludlow, Joe Marler, George Martin, Beno Obano, Gabriel Oghre, Sam Riley, Bevan Rodd, Sam Simmonds, Kyle Sinckler, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill
Backs: Mark Atkinson, Owen Farrell, George Furbank, Ollie Lawrence, Louis Lynagh, Max Malins, Joe Marchant, Jonny May, Raffi Quirke, Adam Radwan, Harry Randall, Dan Robson, Henry Slade, Ollie Sleightholme, Marcus Smith, Freddie Steward, Manu Tuilagi, Anthony Watson, Ben Youngs