England have named their squad for their final match of the Guinness Six Nations against Ireland on Saturday, and there is a lot of sympathy for Paolo Odogwu, who misses out again.

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After such an impressive win over France last week, Eddie Jones was never going to make wholesale changes for this match. While there is not a Championship at stake at the Aviva Stadium, both sides have built some momentum after last week and will be intent on redeeming themselves after disappointing opening rounds.

But the calf injury to Henry Slade this week provided an opportunity for Odogwu to work his way into the matchday squad and earn his first cap as a player who can cover outside centre and the wing.
Instead, Elliot Daly has moved from the bench to No13, while the recently called-up Joe Marchant takes his place on the bench alongside Ollie Lawrence over the Wasps man. Having not been in the initial Six Nations squad, Marchant’s fasttrack into the matchday squad over Odogwu has proven to be the most controversial.

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This once again has raised questions as to why the 24-year-old Odogwu was called up in the first place, and subsequently not released back to his club, as he has now not played a match in over two months after being in such electric form.

While he has been given the experience of being in the England training camp, some feel more importantly that has meant he was deprived of being in the Italian camp, as he qualifies for both countries. Then again, without capping him there is no reason why the winger does not switch allegiance to the Azzurri, as Scotland’s Cameron Redpath did this Championship and many others have done before.

With a British and Irish Lions tour in the summer, there will be plenty of chances for fringe players like Odogwu to be capped. But for many, that opportunity was against Italy after a dismal loss to Scotland, or against France last week after the defeat against Wales, or indeed this week after Slade’s injury.

The fact that England have shown a vast improvement throughout the Championship perhaps vindicates Jones’ decision to avoid being trigger-happy with his changes, but Odogwu has been the unlucky victim of that policy.

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