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May 13, 2021
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Maro ItojeJones, who was appointed as England head coach in November after leading Japan so impressively at the Rugby World Cup, had said that there would be space in his squad for players who 'express themselves'.

And while many seasoned campaigners appear to have a major role to play in Jones' new-look squad, the fearlessness of youth has not been ignored.


Itoje, 21, is equally adept at lock or flanker and has starred for a Saracens side that had beaten all-comers this season before losing to Harlequins last weekend.

He had been a part of England's initial World Cup training camp alongside another uncapped call-up in Wasps centre Elliot Daly.

Harlequins flanker - and former England Under-20 captain - Jack Clifford, is another uncapped introduction into the squad, as well as Northampton Saints prop Paul Hill, Sale Sharks forward Josh Beaumont, Bath utility back Ollie Devoto and Exeter Chiefs centre Sam Hill.

None of those seven are older than 22, but Jones insists he is thinking very much about the present as well as the future, with England's opening RBS 6 Nations clash with Scotland looming on February 6.

"We have selected a squad of players who we think can go to Murrayfield and win, " said Jones. "This is our number one priority, to start with a win, so we have picked a squad which is a mix of experience and potential.

"The long-term strategy for England is to develop a side who can be the most dominant team in world rugby, so we have chosen a lot of new players on the growth we see in them. We see these players growing into England players of the future and developing into a side who can be the best in the world. Our aim is to develop a squad where there is depth and competition in every position.

"I have spoken to some of the players who have not been selected. Naturally they will be disappointed and that is how it should be. They know what they need to do to get back into this squad. The door is not shut for anyone.

"There is no such thing as a shut door because of injuries and loss of form. There will always be opportunities to anyone playing consistently well in the Premiership and Europe."


Chris Ashton has not featured for England since the summer tour of New Zealand in 2014 but the wing, who famously scored six tries in England's first two games of the 2011 RBS 6 Nations, has played himself back into contention.

He is one of the reasons why Saracens have started the campaign in such superb fashion, and his feats include scoring a hat-trick against Oyonnax in December.

Gloucester openside Matt Kvesic also comes back in for the first time since England visited Argentina in 2013, though he is currently injury cover for the uncapped Dave Ewers.

Dylan Hartley also returns to the mix and the 66-time capped international will be competing at hooker alongside Jamie George - the Saracen also missed the World Cup - and Luke Cowan-Dickie.

Wasps loosehead Matt Mullan, Harlequins winger Marland Yarde and Bath tight-head Henry Thomas are also back after missing out over the autumn.

Manu Tuilagi does not make the initial 33-man squad having only just returned to action due to a long-standing groin injury, but the centre can return during the RBS 6 Nations in place of Devoto if he is deemed fit enough.

"We will be without Manu Tuilagi for the Scotland game but we will continue to work with Leicester Tigers and Manu and see where he is as the Six Nations progresses, " said Jones. "With big European weekends ahead there may be further changes once we assess the fitness of the players."

England Senior squad for RBS 6 Nations and Elite Player Squad

Josh Beaumont (Sale Sharks)
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs)
Jack Clifford (Harlequins)
Jamie George (Saracens)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
James Haskell (Wasps)
Paul Hill (Northampton Saints)
Maro Itoje (Saracens)
George Kruis (Saracens)
Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby) *injury replacement for Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs)
Joe Launchbury (Wasps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Matt Mullan (Wasps)
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Henry Thomas (Bath Rugby) *injury replacement for Kieran Brookes (Northampton Saints)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)

Chris Ashton (Saracens)
Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Elliot Daly (Wasps)
Ollie Devoto (Bath Rugby) *injury replacement for Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers)
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
George Ford (Bath Rugby)
Alex Goode (Saracens)
Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs) *injury replacement for Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)
Marland Yarde (Harlequins)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Jonny May has not been considered due to a long-term injury.

Source: www.rbs6nations.com
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