England name uncapped trio in Six Nations squad
Ellis Genge has been recalled, and Joe Marler is also named despite suffering a leg fracture
England’s Australian coach Eddie Jones has named his 2017 Six Nations squad. Photograph: Getty Images
Eddie Jones sprang few surprises when he announced his 34-man Six Nations squad on Friday, with three uncapped players included and a recall for prop Ellis Genge, the only man drafted in from the Elite Player Squad.
Leicester’s 21-year-old Genge, who has one cap as a replacement in last May’s game against Wales, could go straight on to the bench for the opening game against France at Twickenham on February 4th with Matt Mullen expected to start at loosehead in the absence of injured duo Mako Vunipola and Joe Marler.
Marler is included in the squad but will not play for several weeks as he recovers from a broken leg. Uncapped Nathan Catt of Bath offers another prop option, while Leicester back rower Mike Williams and Saracens back Alex Lozowski are the two other uncapped players.
There are also returns for James Haskell, Maro Itoje, Anthony Watson, Jack Clifford and Jack Nowell, who all missed the autumn tests.
“Obviously I’ve been pleased with how the team’s progressing, but there’s still plenty to improve on,” said Jones ahead of his bid to win back-to-back grand slams and continue his run of 13 wins.
“I’ve been impressed with the three uncapped players named in the squad. 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.
“Maro Itoje has done well for his club as has Jack Nowell. James Haskell was magnificent for England last year and is a fierce player. Anthony Watson has been a fine player for England and is one the most prolific try scorers for the number of tests he has played.”
Having secured England’s first grand slam since 2003, Jones said that he “probably didn’t realise the enormity of the tournament and how intense the rivalry is between the countries.
“So this year we’ll be better prepared for it and we are looking forward to being daring against France.”
Jones also announced that he has added visual awareness coach Sherylle Calder, who was used by Clive Woodward during his 2003 World Cup campaign, as a consultant.
“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.”
Forwards: N Catt (Bath), J Clifford (Harlequins), D Cole (Leicester), C Ewels (Bath), E Genge (Leicester), J George (Saracens), T Harrison (Northampton), D Hartley (Northampton), J Haskell, N Hughes (both Wasps), M Itoje, G Kruis (both Saracens), J Launchbury (Wasps), C Lawes (Northampton), J Marler (Harlequins), M Mullan (Wasps), K Sinckler (Harlequins), T Taylor (Wasps), M Williams (Leicester), T Wood (Northampton).
Backs: M Brown, D Care (both Harlequins), E Daly (Wasps), O Farrell (Saracens), G Ford, J Joseph (Bath), A Lozowski (Saracens), J May (Gloucester), J Nowell, H Slade (both Exeter), B Te’o (Worcester), A Watson (Bath), M Yarde (Harlequins), B Youngs (Leicester).