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The 5 major omissions from Steve Borthwick's first England team

By Sam Smith
(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

A number of players have been snubbed by Steve Borthwick as the head coach named a revamped side for England’s Guinness Six Nations opener against Scotland.


Borthwick named a 29-man team on Tuesday, so that meant at least six players were going to be left out when the Cumbrian named the first official England side of his tenure.

Tuilagi, a veteran of 46 caps and a regular choice for the Red Rose for much of the past decade, has not even been named in Borthwick’s first 23-man squad. Joe Marchant takes the 31-year-old’s place in the England line-up. London Irish’s Ollie Hassell-Collin has been handed his first cap in a rejigged backline following injuries to Elliot Daly, Henry Slade and Dan Kelly in the build-up to Saturday’s fixture.

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Exeter Chiefs back row Sam Simmonds has also missed out on the 23. British & Irish Lions star Simmonds, who can play at No.8 or at openside, has been overlooked in favour of Ben Curry and Ben Earl. Curry will be awarded his first cap against major opposition following his debut against the United States nearly two years ago. Lewis Ludlam joins Curry as the other flanker, with Alex Dombrandt at number eight. Earl is named on the bench.

Rookie Northampton winger Tommy Freeman didn’t make the 23-man cut, with Borthwick opting for fellow new boy Ollie Hassell-Collins to start, with the experience of Anthony Watson to spring from the bench.

After winning his first cap in the Autumn, Ribbans didn’t make the cut for the 23 after being named in the reduced squad two days ago.

Another big star that hasn’t made the cut in the loose forwards despite being a force to reckon with for Toulouse in recent months. Willis had already been left out of the 29-man squad named on Tuesday so exclusion from the match day team was already flagged. While obviously part of the squad, playing in France and rumours that he’ll stay offshore might well have played in the selection call.


Sale prop Bevan Rodd and Bath hooker Tom Dunn also didn’t make the matchday 23.

England team: Steward (Leicester); Malins (Saracens, Marchant (Harlequins, 13 caps), Farrell (Saracens, capt), Hassell-Collins (London Irish); Smith (Harlequins), Van Poortvliet (Leicester); Genge (Bristol), George (Saracens), Sinckler (Bristol), Itoje (Saracens), Chessum (Leicester), Ludlam (Northampton), Curry (Sale), Dombrandt (Harlequins).

Replacements: Walker (Harlequins), Vunipola (Saracens), Cole (Leicester), Isiekwe (Saracens), Earl (Saracens), Youngs (Leicester), Lawrence (Bath), Watson (Leicester).

additional reporting PA


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finn 8 hours ago
Why the world needs a reverse Lions tour

I think there’s a lot of reasons this wouldn’t work, but if we’re just proposing fun things how about a “World Series” held the june/july following a world cup. The teams competing each four years would be: the current world champions The Pacific Islands The British & Irish Lions The World XV Barbarians FC to ensure all teams are fairly evenly matched, the current world champions would name their squad first; then The Pacific Islands would name next, and would be able to select any pacific qualified players not selected by the world champions, including players already “captured” by non-pacific nations who would otherwise have been eligible for selection (eg. Bundee Aki); the Lions would select next; and then The World XV and Barbarians FC would be left to fight over anyone not selected. Some people will point out that 5 teams is too many for a mid-year round robin, particularly as it would be nice to have a final as well; and they would be right! But because we’re just having fun here we’re going to innovate an entirely new format for rugby, where the round robin is played in one stadium over the course of one day, with each game lasting just 40 minutes with no half time or change of ends. The round robin decides the seedings for the knockouts, which are contested by all 5 teams in one stadium over the course of one day, according to the following schedule: Knockout Round 1: seed 5 v seed 4 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Quarter Final: winner of Round 1 v seed 3 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Semi Final: winner of Quarter Final v seed 2 (contested over 1 half of indetermined length, finishing when one team reaches 7 points) ~ 10 minute break ~ Final: winner of Semi Final v seed 1 (played as a standard 80 minute rugby match) for the round robin, teams would name a 15 man starting lineup and a 16 man bench. Substitutions during games can only be made for injuries, but any number of substitutions can be made between games. The same rules apply for the finals, except that we return to having a regular 8 man bench, and would allow substitutions as normal during the 80 minute final.

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