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Trio of snubbed England players to start Leicester's Champions Cup clash

By Ian Cameron
(Photo by Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images)

Three major England omissions are set to start for Leicester Tigers as they take on Bordeaux Bègles at Welford Road in the Heineken Champions Cup.


George Ford, George Martin and Nic Dolly were all left out of Eddie Jones’ 36-man Guinness Six Nations that was named on Tuesday.

Ford will captain the side at fly-half but he could yet get a call from Jones’ with news breaking that Owen Farrell is likely to be unavailable for England’s opening match of the tournament against Scotland on February 5th.

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A Saracens statement read: “Owen Farrell suffered an injury in training this week ahead of the game against London Irish, ruling him out of the match. Owen was back in full training having recovered from the ankle injury he sustained against Australia during the Autumn internationals. We will have a further update after he sees a specialist early next week.”

There is however room in the side for a number of England call-ups. Joe Heyes starts at tighthead, while Ollie Chessum gets the nod at lock. England fullback Freddie Steward is named at fullback and England veteran Ben Youngs starts at nine, with Ellis Genge named on the bench.

Leicester Tigers’ head coach Steve Borthwick said: “Bordeaux are an incredible side, probably the best team in Europe, and a club that boasts a wealth of resource as you can see through the depth and talent within their ranks.

“It will be a massive challenge for us on Saturday afternoon against what is a tremendous side coming to Mattioli Woods Welford Road.”


15 Bryce Hegarty
14 Freddie Steward
13 Matt Scott
12 Dan Kelly
11 Hosea Saumaki
10 George Ford (c)
9 Ben Youngs
1 James Whitcombe
2 Nic Dolly
3 Joe Heyes
4 Ollie Chessum
5 Calum Green
6 George Martin
7 Tommy Reffell
8 Jasper Wiese

16 Charlie Clare
17 Ellis Genge
18 Nephi Leatigaga
19 Eli Snyman
20 Harry Wells
21 Jack van Poortvliet
22 Freddie Burns
23 Guy Porter


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Shaylen 1 hours ago
Jack Willis' Champions Cup masterclass proves English eligibility rules need a rethink

If France, Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland got together and all changed their eligibility laws in the same way SA has it would be absolutely bonkers. All players from all nations involved in Europe would be fair game as would their coaches. The investment in rugby would be supercharged as teams would rush to create dream teams. Transfer markets would be super charged, salary caps may change, private investment would grow as rich backers first buy clubs and then put money into their clubs in an effort to land the best players. The richest clubs and franchises would benefit most but money and players would move across borders at a steady flow. Suddenly countries like Wales and Scotland would have a much larger pool of players to select from who would be developed and improved in systems belonging to their rivals within superstar squads while their clubs receive large sums in the transfer market. The Six Nations would experience a big boost as the best players become available all the time. The Champions cup would become even more fiercely contested as the dream teams clash. Fan engagement would grow as fans would follow their favourite players creating interest in the game across the continent. Transfer markets and windows would become interesting events in themselves, speculation would drive it and rumours of big transfers and interest in players would spread. All of this is speculation and much of it would not eventuate straight away but just like in football the spread of players and talent would create these conditions over time. The transfer markets in European football is proof of this. Football had the same club vs country debate eons ago and favoured an open system. This has made it the largest game in the world with global interest and big money. Rugby needs to embrace this approach in the long run as well

12 Go to comments
Jon 7 hours ago
Waratahs 'counter-culture' limits Wallaby options for Joe Schmidt

This is a bit dramatic for me, I think the Rebels and Force cultures would be very strong, and if a player is chosen from either, you can be confident they are in a good head space and ready. Whether they quite have the technical or tactical foundations of the other two states is where one would way their risk of selection. I see no need for Schmidt to worry about that risk in this squad. The main reason I could see a predominance of players from Brumbies and Reds, is simple cohesion. What might the coaching group make of what’s lacking in the Tahs, and to a lesser extent Rebels and Force’s, franchise? Certainly sides (players) that are running irish plays like we saw from that lovely McDermott long ball with have a head start. I hope the players can continue it at International level. Really liked what I saw of Wright (don’t know player focus and just hadn’t seen a lot of him anyway) in that game, can see him being a glue in a Wallaby side too. A with the similar worry of selecting players like Ryan, I think it unfounded to worry so much about forward balance at the moment. Including both Wright and Skelton in the same lineout is not going to lose you games gainst Wales. Nor will any unknown weakenss Wales might find in Ryan be exploited to any great extent. It is the perfect time to introduce such a young player. What other shortcuts might Schmidt want to make now, just a year out from hosting BIL? When Gamble came on the scene I thought he had a Pocock ability to break game apart along with performing the role of a openside well. I would be very keen to drop Leota/Hooper for Gamble, and in your squad make up, include Uru as a lock. Did you forget to remove Vunivalu from your team? Would you have Meafou in your squad if you could?

114 Go to comments
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