Simmonds axed as England trim squad
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: Eddie Jones has revealed his England 28-man squad for Saturday’s Test against Tonga.
Sam Simmonds is the biggest name omitted from the reduced England squad.
The Exeter Chiefs No.8 had not been capped by his country since March 2018 but he would have been hopeful that this near four-year gap might be breached this weekend.
The soon-to-be 27-year-old Simmonds was last capped by Jones when England were defeated by Ireland in the 2018 Six Nations.
Having played in the third Test of the recent Lions series versus the Springboks, his England squad exile ended with Jones including him in the recent training squad ahead of the matches versus Tonga, Australia and South Africa.
However, he has now been released back to club for next weekend Premiership action after Jones cut the 35-man squad he had with him at the start of this week in London down to 28 ahead of this Thursday’s team announcement.
Jones was on deck for the Tuesday lunchtime England media and there was no indication at that session that Simmonds would be one of the seven players omitted ahead of the selection of the matchday 23. Simmonds was one of five forwards included at the start of the week who have now been released, Newcastle’s Callum Chick, Leicester pair Nic Dolly and George Martin and Northampton’s Lewis Ludlam the other four from the pack.
The exclusion of Dolly leaves just two hookers in the squad, meaning Jamie George, who was originally axed from the squad last month, will now make the matchday 23. The two backs deemed surplus to requirement were Saints’ Tommy Freeman and weekend call-up Louis Lynagh, who reported in injured following Harlequins’ defeat to Saracens on Sunday.
Jones revealed at his lunchtime media briefing that Lynagh was unavailable for selection versus Tonga and he said the same of Raffi Quirke and Max Malins, even though those two players have been retained in the 28 ahead of the autumn series opener.
The coach has also admitted that Marcus Smith and Freddie Steward had minor knee complaints but he was “cautiously optimistic” the pair would be declared fit ahead of Thursday’s team announcement.
Jamie Blamire, Tom Curry, Trevor Davison, Alex Dombrandt, Charlie Ewels, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Jonny Hill, Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Joe Marler, Kyle Sinckler, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill.
Mark Atkinson, Owen Farrell, George Furbank, Max Malins, Joe Marchant, Jonny May, Alex Mitchell, Raffi Quirke, Adam Radwan, Henry Slade, Marcus Smith, Freddie Steward, Manu Tuilagi, Ben Youngs