Eddie reveals his World Cup hand
SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: England head coach Eddie Jones has confirmed his official 31-man squad to participate in the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan next month.
Owen Farrell will captain England in his second Rugby World Cup.
The squad of 31 players have over 1 000 caps with 17 having played in at least one of the previous Rugby World Cups.
The 2019 edition of the tournament will be the third for Dan Cole, Courtney Lawes and Ben Youngs. Cole and Youngs are the most capped in the squad (86).
After an impressive first season in the Premiership, having converted to the XVs game from sevens, Ruaridh McConnochie is the only uncapped player named.
Following their first caps against Wales on Sunday, which saw England win 33-19 at Twickenham, Lewis Ludlam, Jack Singleton and Willi Heinz are also included.
Jones said: “Today is another step in the progress towards the Rugby World Cup. We have taken the decision to go early because of what we learned from previous campaigns. We want the squad to know early and now we can get on and be the best prepared England side there has ever been, ready to win the World Cup.”
On the players not selected Jones added: “A lot of good players have missed out, we feel for them, I feel for them personally. But as we know the World Cup is an incredible tournament where opportunities can present themselves and all those players who have missed out have been told they have to be ready.”
England have three matches against Wales (August 17), Ireland (August 24) and Italy (September 6) before the tournament starts. Jones said of their importance: “Every game is an opportunity to improve our game fitness, our team cohesion, and our tactical adaptability. Each game for us will have a specific purpose.”
To mark the squad announcement, a special video has been released to celebrate the players’ journey from community club and junior school rugby to their selection in England’s Rugby World Cup squad.
“The base of our game has always been the grassroots clubs,” said Jones. “Your first club and your first coach is such an important experience for you. It dictates how you approach the game and the spirit and the values you play with.”
He added: “To all the people that have helped the players get here, we have the greatest amount of thanks for all of you.”
England will begin their Rugby World Cup campaign in Japan against Tonga in Sapporo on September 22, before playing USA Rugby in Kobe (September 26), Argentina in Tokyo (October 5) and France in Yokohama (October 12).
Dan Cole, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, Joe Marler, Kyle Sinckler, Jack Singleton, Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola, Mark Wilson
Joe Cokanasiga, Elliot Daly, Owen Farrell (captain), George Ford, Piers Francis, Willi Heinz, Jonathan Joseph,
Jonny May, Ruaridh McConnochie, Jack Nowell, Henry Slade, Manu Tuilagi, Anthony Watson, Ben Youngs.