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Two more players cut from England training squad ahead of World Cup

By PA
Sam Underhill (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Sam Underhill has been left out of the updated England training squad as head coach Steve Borthwick steps up preparations for the World Cup.

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The Bath back row, who started the final against South Africa four years ago, was one of two men named in the initial 41-strong party who were omitted when Borthwick gathered his troops together at the Honda England Rugby Performance Centre, Pennyhill Park, on Monday evening.

Sale loose head prop Bevan Rodd was the other name missing from the original list, and while his absence may not be the biggest surprise, that of Underhill may raise eyebrows despite the level of competition in the back row.

The PA news agency understands neither man is injured.

The 21 forwards selected include 33-year-old Harlequins prop Joe Marler, who last played for England 18 months ago.

Marler revealed earlier this month he made himself available after being assured by Borthwick that he had a chance of making the final 33.

The group of 18 backs is packed with familiar names with Owen Farrell, George Ford and Manu Tuilagi among them.

Ollie Chessum, Ollie Lawrence, Mako Vunipola, Billy Vunipola and Jack Walker will also join up with the squad to continue their rehabilitation.

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Borthwick is due to announce his final squad for the tournament in France on August 7.

Forwards: Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Theo Dan (Saracens), Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins), Ben Earl (Saracens), Ellis Genge (Bristol Bears), Jamie George (Saracens), Jonny Hill (Sale Sharks), Maro Itoje (Saracens), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints) Joe Marler (Harlequins), George Martin (Leicester Tigers), Tom Pearson (Northampton Saints), Val Rapava-Ruskin (Gloucester Rugby), David Ribbans (Toulon), Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears), Will Stuart (Bath Rugby), Jack Willis (Toulouse), Tom Willis (Saracens);

Backs: Henry Arundell (Racing 92), Danny Care (Harlequins), Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby), Elliot Daly (Saracens), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Sale Sharks), Max Malins (Bristol Bears), Joe Marchant (Stade Francais), Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby), Cadan Murley (Harlequins), Guy Porter (Leicester Tigers), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Marcus Smith (Harlequins), Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers), Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks), Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers), Anthony Watson (unattached), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers).

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6 Comments
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Andrew 364 days ago

Coach needs to contact my nephew Zach Mercer get him into camp so he can face my team the might All Blacks ⚫️. He plays for Montpelier right now and is about to become a dad. Go get him coach hes good.

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William 2 hours ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

Correct analysis of Perofeta’s bungling of the try opportunity Ben. Never ‘fixed’ Steward as he came across in defence and passed too early. Steward didn’t have to break his stride and simply moved on to pressure Telea. Never scanned the easier option of passing to the two supporting players on the inside. Beauden Barrett showed how it is done when he put Telea in for his try. Another point from the game is that the rush defence is hard to maintain as the number of phases increases. From scrums the defensive line only contains backs who all have roughly the same pace. Once forwards are involved, the defence has players with variable speeds often leading to a jagged line. It also tends to lose pace overall giving the attack more time and space. Beauden Barrett’s break to set up Telea’s try came because Baxter went in to tackle McKenzie and Steward went out to cover Telea. Barrett has a massive hole to run through, then commits Steward by passing as late as possible and Telea scores untouched. Another comment I would make is that Ben Earl is a good player and generally an excellent defender but he made three significant misses in the series, two of which led to All Black tries. Got stepped by Perofeta in Dunedin for Savea’s try, missed McKenzie in Auckland leading to what should have been a certain try being set up by Perofeta and was one of the tacklers who couldn’t stop Savea in the leadup to Telea’s first try. Perhaps he should contact Owen Farrell to pick up a few tips from ‘tackle school’.

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