Eddie Jones and his coaching team are looking to the future with their England team after naming a youthful squad for the upcoming Six Nations. 


Eight uncapped players are in the squad, which includes the 20-year-old Fraser Dingwall, 21-year-old Jacob Umaga, 22-year-old Ben Earl and a 23-year-old quartet of Will Stuart, Alex Moon, George Furbank and Ollie Thorley. 

This is a burst of young players in what was already a fairly youthful England team, having had the youngest ever XV to start a World Cup final in the professional era. 

Given this approach by Jones and his team, the selection of scrum-halves Ben Youngs and Willi Heinz has caused some confusion. 

Not only have England adopted the policy of only picking two nines in the squad, something that proved problematic in the RWC, but the age of these two as well has been highlighted. 

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All the round two highlights from the Japanese Top League

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Leicester Tigers’ Youngs is now 30, while Gloucester’s Heinz is now 33. It is unlikely that they will both be playing in the squad in 2023. 

The New Zealand-born Heinz does not necessarily deserve to lose his place given how reliable he has been for Gloucester over the past three years, but this is just a matter of age and looking to the future. 


While England may not have an embarrassment of riches in the scrum-half department compared to some other positions, Saracens’ Ben Spencer and Wasps’ Dan Robson are two players that are unable to break into the squad for a consistent run of games. 

Both players are 27 and although they have been capped, Jones has been reluctant to rely on either of them during his tenure, although Spencer did replace the injured Heinz at the RWC. 

Northampton’s 22-year-old Alex Mitchell is in the squad as one of two apprentice players, which is an insight into who Jones sees occupying the nine shirt nearer 2023. 

His career can only blossom next season with Cobus Reinach’s departure from Franklin’s Gardens. But outside of Mitchell’s selection, the limited options at nine stand out compared to the age of the rest of the squad. 

With 97 Test caps to his name, Youngs is still worthy of an England place for his experience if anything else, and it is not inconceivable to say he will still be an international in 2023. 

His long-time England competitor Danny Care found out in 2019 that it is hard to keep hold of an England place but on this occasion, Jones has stuck to the experienced and sagacious duo he used in Japan. 

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