Ben Te’o has been left out of England’s World Cup squad following his off-field altercation with Mike Brown during the recent warm-weather camp in Treviso. The 32-year-old is the biggest casualty from Jones’s 31-man squad with Piers Francis preferred in his place.
Lewis Ludlam and Willi Heinz have both been included after their impressive debuts against Wales on Sunday while Ruaridh McConnochie is also picked, making him the first uncapped member of an England World Cup squad since Joe Simpson in 2011.
The writing was on the wall for Te’o when, along with Brown, he was left out of the squad preparing to face Wales last week. Details of the pair’s altercation then emerged but Jones’s decision to leave him out is still a surprise considering how highly he has valued Te’o’s direct running in the past.
Brown also misses out meaning, along with the omissions of Dylan Hartley, Chris Robshaw, Nathan Hughes and Danny Care, Jones has decided against selecting six players, until recently trusted lieutenants, who boast 361 caps between them.
Brad Shields, who has been struggling with a foot injury, is also conspicuous by his absence with Ludlam getting the nod as the fifth back-row. Jack Nowell, who continues to recover from an ankle injury, and Mako Vunipola, who missed the end of last season with a hamstring injury are both included, as are Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson after making their first England appearances in more than a year against Wales.
There is no place for Harry Williams however – Jones opting to select just two tighthead props in Kyle Sinckler and Dan Cole, who along with Ben Youngs is the most capped player in the squad which has a 17-14 split between forwards and backs.
With McConnochie and Nowell both selected, Jones has picked six back-three players and, as expected, only two scrum-halves with Youngs and Heinz preferred to Ben Spencer, who is overlooked. The captain Owen Farrell and George Ford are the only two fly-halves with Danny Cipriani long-since out of the picture.
Joe Launchbury is named among the second rows but Charlie Ewels, who
impressed against Wales on Sunday, is overlooked. Jack Singleton, another
who made his debut against Wales, is the third hooker along with Jamie
George and Luke Cowan-Dickie.
“A lot of good players have missed out, we feel for them, I feel for them personally,” said Jones. “But as we know the 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.
“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.” – Guardian