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Borthwick reveals his new England captain

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT: England coach Steve Borthwick has named a 36-player training squad for the forthcoming 2024 Six Nations championship.

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The tournament begins on Saturday, February 3, when England plays Italy at Stadio Olimpico in Rome.

Jamie George has been named as the new England captain.

The Saracens hooker becomes the 135th player to be appointed England captain since Frederick Stokes first led an England side in 1871.

There is a first call-up for Exeter Chiefs’ Immanuel Feyi-Waboso.

The wing joins six other uncapped players in the squad – Chandler Cunningham-South (Harlequins), Ethan Roots (Exeter Chiefs), Oscar Beard (Harlequins), Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints), Tom Roebuck (Sale Sharks) and Fin Smith (Northampton Saints).

The squad of 36 players – which is made up of 20 forwards and 16 backs – will assemble at the England Performance Centre, Pennyhill Park next Tuesday (January 23), before flying to Girona to begin their preparations for the Six Nations championship.

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“Building on the foundations of what the England Team achieved in the World Cup, I have selected a squad that provides strong continuity and experience, whilst at the same time providing an opportunity to develop the talent of several new and less experienced players,” said Borthwick.

“I would particularly like to congratulate the new faces who have their first chance in an England squad, and very much look forward to seeing how that young talent can play an important part in ensuring that England continues to develop our game and move forward.

“The Six Nations is a tremendously entertaining and hugely competitive competition.

“This year will be no different, and as we prepare for the challenge which awaits us against Italy in Rome, this squad will come together next week for a training camp in Girona.”

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Jamie George

On naming Jamie George as England’s captain, Borthwick added: “When I asked Jamie to be captain for this forthcoming series, I could sense his excitement and pride at being asked to lead his country. I am delighted that he has accepted the role.

“Jamie has been a respected leader in this group for several years now. With 85 England caps to his name, he is a quietly influential character who has an excellent tactical understanding and who sets high standards, whilst building strong relationships with the people around him.

“This, together with his previous experiences of captaining Saracens and The British & Irish Lions, leave him well-placed to lead the team.”

Speaking about his appointment as England Captain Jamie George said: “Last week Steve asked me to be captain for the upcoming Six Nations and I accepted with huge gratitude and enthusiasm.

“I love playing rugby for England. I hope that everyone has seen how much it means to me, I have never shied away from that. I am so excited about where this team can go and bringing the fans on that journey with us is something that I care about deeply.

“I believe I’m at the stage of my career where I can give my all to the captaincy and give my best on the pitch.

“I don’t underestimate the challenge ahead. Owen is a fantastic motivator and tactician, and we will undoubtedly miss his leadership. But I have got brilliant people around me, many of whom have won major tournaments, and utilising the great experience we have within the group is going to be crucial.

“The squad is in a great place to build off some really strong performances at the Rugby World Cup and I look forward to getting started and welcoming some new faces to camp.”

Following the Italy clash, Steve Borthwick’s men will host Wales at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday, February 9.

England then travel to Edinburgh to take on Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday, February 24, before returning to West London to face Ireland on Saturday, March 9.

England’s final game of the Championship sees them take on France on Saturday, March 16, at the Groupama Stadium, Lyon.

England’s 36-player training squad

Forwards: Ollie Chessum, Dan Cole, Alex Coles, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Chandler Cunningham-South, Ben Curry, Theo Dan, Alex Dombrandt, Ben Earl, Ellis Genge, Jamie George (captain), Joe Heyes, Nick Isiekwe, Maro Itoje, Joe Marler, Beno Obano, Tom Pearson, Ethan Roots, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill.

Backs: Oscar Beard, Danny Care, Elliot Daly, Fraser Dingwall, Immanuel Feyi-Waboso, George Ford, Tommy Freeman, George Furbank, Ollie Lawrence, Alex Mitchell, Tom Roebuck, Henry Slade, Fin Smith, Marcus Smith, Ben Spencer, Freddie Steward.

Players in rehabilitation: George Martin, Manu Tuilagi, Anthony Watson, Raffi Quirke, Jack van Poortvliet.

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