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Jonny Hill is one of seven players cut as England trim squad to 29

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images)

Sale second row Jonny Hill and Toulouse back-rower Jack Willis are the two big-name casualties after Steve Borthwick trimmed his England squad from 36 to 29 on Tuesday evening ahead of next Saturday’s Guinness Six Nations opener versus Scotland.

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Having named a squad of 20 forwards and 16 backs last Sunday to assemble for two days of training at Pennyhill Park, new England coach Borthwick has now excluded four forwards and three backs.

Those cut from the pack were Hill, a regular pick under previous England boss Eddie Jones, tighthead Joe Heyes, loosehead Bevan Rodd and the French-based back-rower Willis.

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In the backs, Guy Porter, a call-up on Monday after midfielder Dan Kelly got injured in training, scrum-half Alex Mitchell and winger Cadan Murley were released back to their clubs.

It means that Borthwick has retained 16 forwards and 13 backs ahead of the Calcutta Cup showdown, including the uncapped trio of hooker Jack Walker, out-half Fin Smith and winger Ollie Hassell-Collins.

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The retention of George in the squad will be a relief to Borthwick as the hooker was recently concussed when playing for Saracens and missed some of the England preparation last week. “He is working through the protocols and we expect him to be available for selection,” said England defence coach Kevin Sinfield earlier on Tuesday. “He has thrown today and it’s a gradual build-up through the protocols, so at the minute he is on track to be available.”

England squad (vs Scotland)
Forwards (16):
Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers, 5 caps)
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 95 caps)
Ben Curry (Sale Sharks, 1 cap)
Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, 9 caps)
Tom Dunn (Bath Rugby, 3 caps)
Ben Earl (Saracens, 13 caps)
Ellis Genge (Bristol Bears, 43 caps)
Jamie George (Saracens, 72 caps)
Nick Isiekwe (Saracens, 8 caps)
Maro Itoje (Saracens, 62 caps)
Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 14 caps)
David Ribbans (Northampton Saints, 3 caps)
Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs, 18 caps)
Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 56 caps)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 74 caps)
Jack Walker (Harlequins, uncapped)

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Backs (13)
Owen Farrell (Saracens, 101 caps)
Tommy Freeman (Northampton Saints, 3 caps)
Ollie Hassell-Collins (London Irish, uncapped)
Ollie Lawrence (Bath Rugby, 7 caps)
Max Malins (Saracens, 14 caps)
Joe Marchant (Harlequins, 13 caps)
Fin Smith (Northampton Saints, uncapped)
Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 17 caps)
Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 17 caps)
Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 50 caps)
Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers, 7 caps)
Anthony Watson (Leicester Tigers, 51 caps)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 121 caps)

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