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Chessum the biggest casualty as England cut squad to 30 for Ireland

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Steve Borthwick has cut his England squad to 30-ahead of Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations clash with Ireland, with Ollie Chessum – a starter in the record defeat to France last Saturday – missing out on this occasion. The Leicester second row suffered an ankle injury on Tuesday and has been replaced in the squad by clubmate George Martin.

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With no matches scheduled this weekend in the Gallager Premiership, Borthwick opted to lessen the number of midweek cuts he had previously made to the squad. Will Collier and Ben Earl were the only other forwards released following two days this week at Pennyhill. In the backs, Tommy Freeman, Caden Murley, Guy Porter and Ben Youngs all missed out.

George Ford, who was among the players released at this stage last week, has been kept in the squad this time around and his presence will further fuel the debate over who should wear the England No10 jersey against Ireland. Smith dramatically took that jersey back from the benched Owen Farrell last weekend having lost it to the England skipper for the previous games against Italy and Wales.

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A statement read: “Steve Borthwick has retained a 30-player squad for our match against Ireland this weekend. Ollie Chessum sustained an ankle injury in training today [Tuesday] which has ruled him out of this weekend’s game. George Martin has been called up to the squad.”

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There were originally four changes to the 36-man squad that Borthwick publicly confirmed on Monday morning from the 36 named the previous week to prepare for France. Collier was named ahead of Joe Heyes at tighthead, Jonny Hill was chosen as a replacement for the injured Courtney Lawes, the place of excluded back-rower Sam Simmonds went to winger Ollie Hassell-Collins, and Porter was called up for the hamstring-stricken Ollie Lawrence, another starter against the French.

England squad (vs Ireland)
Forwards (17):
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 99 caps)
Ben Curry (Sale Sharks, 4 caps)
Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, 13 caps)
Tom Dunn (Bath Rugby, 3 caps)
Ellis Genge (Bristol Bears, 47 caps)
Jamie George (Saracens, 76 caps)
Jonny Hill (Sale Sharks, 19 caps)
Nick Isiekwe (Saracens, 10 caps)
Maro Itoje (Saracens, 66 caps)
Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 18 caps)
George Martin (Leicester Tigers, 1 cap)
David Ribbans (Northampton Saints, 4 caps)
Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks, 2 caps)
Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 60 caps)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 78 caps)
Jack Walker (Harlequins, 3 caps)
Jack Willis (Toulouse, 9 caps)

Backs (13):
Henry Arundell (London Irish, 6 caps)
Owen Farrell (Saracens, 105 caps)
George Ford (Sale Sharks, 81 caps)
Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish, 2 caps)
Max Malins (Saracens, 18 caps)
Joe Marchant (Harlequins, 14 caps)
Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints, 4 caps)
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 55 caps)
Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 21 caps)
Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 21 caps)
Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 50 caps)
Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers, 11 caps)
Anthony Watson (Leicester Tigers, 54 caps)

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