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England boss Borthwick sheds light on key player's omission

SQUAD ANNOUNCEMENT: England head coach Steve Borthwick has named his official training squad for the 2023 World Cup which kicks off in France in September.

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The 41-player squad will assemble on Sunday, July 2 for England’s first official training camp.

Premiership finalists Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Elliot Daly (Saracens), Ben Earl (Saracens), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Sale Sharks), Jamie George (Saracens), Jonny Hill (Sale Sharks), Maro Itoje (Saracens), Max Malins (Saracens), Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks) and Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks) are called into the England setup following their mandatory rest period.

Back row forward Jack Willis is also named having recently won the Top 14 title with Toulouse.

The squad, which has a total of 1 519 England caps, also includes five uncapped players. The Premiership’s top try-scorer, Cadan Murley (Harlequins), is joined by back row forward and Premiership Breakthrough Player of the Season, Tom Pearson (London Irish), hooker Theo Dan (Saracens), Gloucester’s loosehead prop Val Rapava-Ruskin, and No.8 Tom Willis, who finished the season with Bordeaux Bègles.

“We’re excited to be able to bring a full training squad together for the first time and focus on the next stage of our World Cup preparations,” said Borthwick.

“I am pleased with the balance of the squad, which blends experience with youth.

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“Our preparation camps over the last three weeks have allowed those players who didn’t feature in the Premiership final to start to get physically equipped for a World Cup campaign.

“The attitude of the players has been excellent, and I have seen a group who have wholeheartedly committed to what we have asked of them.

“We hope the announcement is the start of something special for our supporters, who I know are eagerly anticipating the tournament as much as we are.”

On Luke Cowan-Dickie’s absence from the squad, Borthwick added: “Despite all his incredible work and progress, Luke’s shoulder has not improved sufficiently for him to be considered for selection for the World Cup.

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“We wish him a swift recovery and hope to see him back playing very soon.”

While not named in the 41-player squad, Ollie Chessum (Leicester Tigers), Ollie Lawrence (Bath Rugby), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), and Jack Walker (Harlequins) will continue their rehabilitation and are still considered for selection for England’s 33-player World Cup squad which will be announced in August.

Prior to the start of the 2023 World Cup in September, England’s Nations Series matches begin against Wales at the Principality Stadium on Saturday, August 5, with a return fixture at Twickenham Stadium scheduled a week later on Saturday, August 12.

England then travel to Dublin to face Ireland on Saturday, August 19, before returning to Twickenham Stadium to play Fiji on Saturday, August 26.

England training squad: 

Forwards: Jamie Blamire, Dan Cole, Tom Curry, Theo Dan, Alex Dombrandt, Ben Earl, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Jonny Hill, Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, Joe Marler, George Martin, Tom Pearson, Val Rapava-Ruskin, David Ribbans, Bevan Rodd, Kyle Sinckler, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill, Jack Willis, Tom Willis

Backs: Henry Arundell, Danny Care, Joe Cokanasiga, Elliot Daly, Owen Farrell, George Ford, Max Malins, Joe Marchant, Jonny May, Cadan Murley, Guy Porter, Henry Slade, Marcus Smith, Freddie Steward, Manu Tuilagi, Jack van Poortvliet, Anthony Watson, Ben Youngs

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