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Immanuel Feyi-Waboso one of seven uncapped players picked for England

By Josh Raisey
Immanuel Feyi-Waboso of Exeter Chiefs celebrates scoring his teams fourth try during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Exeter Chiefs and Sale Sharks at Sandy Park on October 28, 2023 in Exeter, England. (Photo by Luke Walker/Getty Images)

Exeter Chiefs winger Immanuel Feyi-Waboso has been selected by England head coach Steve Borthwick for the Guinness Six Nations.

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The 21-year-old Cardiff-born winger is one of seven uncapped players selected, in what is a new-look squad after the World Cup last year. Over half the new squad (19) did not feature in the World Cup at all last year, while both Sam Underhill and Alex Mitchell were not originally selected in Borthwick’s squad.

The back row duo of Harlequins’ Chandler Cunningham-South and Exeter Chiefs’ New Zealand-born Ethan Roots are the only two uncapped players in the pack. Harlequins’ centre Oscar Beard and Sale Sharks winger Tom Roebuck join Feyi-Waboso as the uncapped backs, as well as Northampton Saints duo Fin Smith and Fraser Dingwall.

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Smith and Dingwall are two of seven Saints players who have been rewarded for their fine season so far, where they sit at the top of the Gallagher Premiership and are unbeaten in the Investec Champions Cup. Injured Northampton captain Lewis Ludlam has missed out, however.

In Owen Farrell’s absence, Jamie George has been chosen to captain the side, who Borthwick described as “quietly influential.”

“When I asked Jamie to be captain for this forthcoming series,” Borthwick said. “I could sense his excitement and pride at being asked to lead his country. I am delighted that he has accepted the role.

“Jamie has been a respected leader in this group for a number of years now. With 85 England caps to his name, he is a quietly influential character who has an excellent tactical understanding and who sets high standards, whilst building strong relationships with the people around him. This, together with his previous experiences of captaining Saracens and The British & Irish Lions, leave him well-placed to lead the team.”

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After being named captain, George said: “Last week Steve asked me to be captain for the upcoming Six Nations and I accepted with huge gratitude and enthusiasm.

“I love playing rugby for England. I hope that everyone has seen how much it means to me, I have never shied away from that. I am so excited about where this team can go and bringing the fans on that journey with us is something that I care about deeply.

“I believe I’m at the stage of my career where I can give my all to the captaincy and give my best on the pitch.

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“I don’t underestimate the challenge ahead. Owen is a fantastic motivator and tactician, and we will undoubtedly miss his leadership. But I have got brilliant people around me, many of whom have won major tournaments, and utilising the great experience we have within the group is going to be crucial.

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“The squad is in a great place to build off some really strong performances at the Rugby World Cup and I look forward to getting started and welcoming some new faces to camp.”

There are plenty of recalls in the squad for previously capped players, with Henry Slade headlining the list after missing the World Cup. Bath scrum-half Ben Spencer has also returned to the fold after earning his last cap in the 2019 World Cup final.

George Martin, Anthony Watson, Jack van Poortvliet, Raffi Quirke and Manu Tuilagi are all excluded from the squad, but are in camp to rehab injuries. Bath No8 Alfie Barbeary is another notable exclusion, although he has a disciplinary hearing later today for two yellow cards he received against Racing 92 on Sunday in the Champions Cup. Joe Cokanasiga is another resurgent Bath player who was tipped to make the cut, but has been overlooked.

There is still no room in the back row for former Top 14 player of the season Zach Mercer after he missed out on selection for the World Cup squad, while the experienced duo of No8 Billy Vunipola and tighthead Kyle Sinckler have been omitted after featuring at the World Cup. Sinckler will remain at Bristol Bears alongside his teammate Max Malins.

England get their Six Nations started with a trip to Rome to take on Italy on February 3.

England’s 36-player squad
Forwards
Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers, 18 caps)
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 107 caps)
Alex Coles (Northampton Saints, 3 caps)
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Sale Sharks, 41 caps)
Chandler Cunningham-South (Harlequins, uncapped)
Ben Curry (Sale Sharks, 5 caps)
Theo Dan (Saracens, 7 caps)
Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, 15 caps)
Ben Earl (Saracens, 25 caps)
Ellis Genge (Bristol Bears, 58 caps)
Jamie George (Saracens, 85 caps) – captain
Joe Heyes (Leicester Tigers, 7 caps)
Nick Isiekwe (Saracens, 11 caps)
Maro Itoje (Saracens, 76 caps)
Joe Marler (Harlequins, 88 caps)
Beno Obano (Bath Rugby, 3 caps)
Tom Pearson (Northampton Saints, 1 cap)
Ethan Roots (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped)
Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 33 caps)
Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 30 caps)

Backs
Oscar Beard (Harlequins, uncapped)
Danny Care (Harlequins, 96 caps)
Elliot Daly (Saracens, 64 caps)
Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Immanuel Feyi-Waboso (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped)
George Ford (Sale Sharks, 91 caps)
Tommy Freeman (Northampton Saints, 3 caps)
George Furbank (Northampton Saints, 6 caps)
Ollie Lawrence (Bath Rugby, 21 caps)
Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints, 11 caps)
Tom Roebuck (Sale Sharks, uncapped)
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 57 caps)
Fin Smith (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 30 caps)
Ben Spencer (Bath Rugby, 4 caps)
Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 31 caps)

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14 Comments
J
Jon 150 days ago

Wow, wouldnt have thought that from what i’ve seen of the young welshmen. Disappointing from an Int rugby view but thats really a stupid thought, if he’s been selected on potential and doesn’t really turn into anything it’s no real lose for Wales either, and if he turns into an England winger then good on him. Anyone got any opinion on how money would have have swayed his choice?

D
David 150 days ago

Good sqaud with lots of youngsters. Glad to see players selected on Premiership form, not just reputation! That is a relief after the Edie Jones years!

Beard has been pulling up trees, both defensively and in attack. He has it all, he can play wing and centre. I can see him maybe bulking up and playing 12, especially if Andre Estahuizen leaves quins for France.

N
Neil 150 days ago

Pleased to see Cunningham-South in the squad. He has played very well for Quins every time I've seen him offers go forward in traffic but can also hit a gap and a good line-out option…..could fill the gap left by Courtney

f
finn 150 days ago

Is george martin injured? he played 80 minutes at the weekend but I genuinely cannot fathom not picking him if fit.

I would also have picked Barbeary, Ludlam, Fisilau, & Jonny Hill in place of Roots, Cunningham-South, Ben Curry, & Pearson.

Add to that Sinckler in place of Heyes; Warr over Spencer if he made himself eligible; and Kelly & Cokanasiga over Beard and Roebuck.

Overall I am fairly happy with the squad. Of the people I would have included I would only have favoured Sinckler to start, so its not like any of them will be huge misses, but the absence of Martin is just really hard to square with how he played against South Africa, and the selection of Beard over Kelly makes very little sense given how much england needs specialist 12s right now.

S
Sumkunn Tsadmiova 150 days ago

Good squad with one seemingly glaring omission - George Martin. Still, presumably the one position which Steve Borthwick can be trusted on is second row

J
Jeff 150 days ago

Alife Barbeary should be there, need a ball carrier.

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