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BREAKING: Jones cuts down squad

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Jones wields axe to England squad ahead of Springboks Test

Eddie Jones has retained 25 players to continue England’s preparation for the first Test of their November Internationals against South Africa at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday.

In addition Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints) will remain in Portugal to continue his rehabilitation.

Mike Brown is one of the high-profile casualties of the trimmed down squad, while Chris Ashton remains on course for his first England test for four years. Ashton’s current record stands at 39 Tests and 19 tries.

Brown was selected on the wing during the June tour to South Africa, with Elliot Daly preferred at full-back. Jack Nowell appears to have usurped the 33-year-old as back-up too.

Brown has won 72 caps for England and has pretty much been an ever-present during Eddie Jones’ reign. He was rested against Fiji in 2016, while concussion ruled him out against the Wallabies last year.

Ben Morgan, drafted into the squad after Billy Vunipola’s injury and Nathan Hughes’ suspension, has failed to impress enough to feature against the Springboks, with Bath backrow Zach Mercer now likely to get the nod in the number 8 shirt.

Manu Tuilagi’s return to the international scene also moved a step closer. Last week co-captain Owen Farrell eulogised about the formidable Leicester Tigers centre.

“Him [Tuilagi] running in a straight line is difficult to deal with, but it’s not just that with Manu, he’s got subtleties to his game too which makes him even more difficult to stop.

“He’s not just your predictable big bloke that you can tackle low and stop; he is a brilliant line runner, he has good feet, good feel and he’s unbelievably powerful – he showed that against the Scarlets.

“He is pretty unique. Everybody can see that, he’s a game-breaker in terms of making something happen and that is exciting.”

The 23-man match day squad will be announced in Portugal on Thursday before the squad return to London.

Forwards
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks)
Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby)
Jamie George (Saracens)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints) co-captain
Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs)
Maro Itoje (Saracens)
George Kruis (Saracens)
Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby)
Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs)
Brad Shields (Wasps)
Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins)
Elliott Stooke (Bath Rugby)
Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs)
Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons)

Backs
Chris Ashton (Sale Sharks)
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Elliot Daly (Wasps)
Owen Farrell (Saracens) co-captain
George Ford (Leicester Tigers)
Jonny May (Leicester Tigers)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors)
Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Watch: Eddie Jones talks to RugbyPass about November Test squad

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Jones wields axe to England squad ahead of Springboks Test