Dylan Hartley omitted from England Rugby World Cup training squad
Chris Robshaw and Danny Care also miss out with Eddie Jones opting for fresh blood
Dylan Hartley has been left out of England’s preliminary Rugby World Cup training squad. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
England have omitted former captains Dylan Hartley and Chris Robshaw from their preliminary training squad for the Rugby World Cup. Senior players Danny Care and Nathan Hughes have also been left out with head coach Eddie Jones opting instead for a clutch of fresh alternatives.
Among the hopeful 11th hour contenders on a list of 29 names are Quins’ powerful backrow forward Alex Dombrandt, the Northampton flanker Lewis Ludlam, the Gloucester prop Val Rapava Ruskin and the Bath wing Ruaridh McConnochie.
Jones is not due to confirm his final 31-man RWC squad until August and is currently unable to pick players who featured in the Premiership play-offs.
The absence of Hartley, Robshaw and Care from next week’s initial camp in Bagshot, therefore, is significant. Injuries could yet cause a further reshuffle but Hartley, 33, has not played since December and is still nursing a nagging knee problem. Robshaw, also 33, has been overtaken by Newcastle’s Mark Wilson and Wasps’ Brad Shields while Care, 32, has slipped down the scrum-half pecking order.
Between them the trio boast 247 Test caps but if they are not involved in this August’s warm-up Tests their best chance of competing in Japan will be as potential injury cover.
Dombrandt, 22, has shot to prominence after an eye-catching first season for Harlequins and scored two tries against the Barbarians earlier this month, Rapava Ruskin is a dynamic tight forward and McConnochie has made an impressive impact at Bath having previously represented England at sevens. - Guardian
England training squad: Backs: C Ashton (Sale Sharks), M Brown (Harlequins), J Cokanasiga (Bath), E Daly (Wasps), G Ford (Leicester), J Joseph (Bath), J May (Leicester), R McConnochie (Bath), D Robson (Wasps), M Smith (Harlequins), B Te’o (Worcester), M Tuilagi (Leicester), A Watson (Bath), B Youngs (Leicester). Forwards: D Cole (Leicester), T Curry (Sale Sharks), A Dombrandt (Harlequins), T Dunn (Bath), C Ewels (Bath), E Genge (Leicester), J Launchbury (Wasps), L Ludlam (Northampton), V Rapava Ruskin (Gloucester), N Schonert (Worcester), B Shields (Wasps), K Sinckler (Harlequins), J Singleton (Worcester), S Underhill (Bath), M Wilson (Newcastle).