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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

WATCH: England announce Rugby World Cup squad with shock Henry Slade omission

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Henry Slade was the shock omission from England coach Steve Borthwick’s 33-man squad for the Rugby World Cup on Monday.

The Exeter centre was part of England’s run to the final four years ago and had appeared in 30 of the last 37 Tests.

However, he has missed out to Joe Marchant, who impressed despite a disappointing 20-9 defeat to Wales on Saturday.

“There have been a number of very difficult selection decisions to make,” said Borthwick.

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“Some very good players have missed out on selection such has been the competition for places over the last eight weeks and more of preparation.”

Borthwick also defended the decision to name his squad early with further warm-up matches against Wales, Ireland and Fiji to come before the deadline later this month.

“We believe that announcing the squad a little earlier than otherwise might have been the case brings a clarity and certainty to the group, allowing the players as much time as possible to settle and develop as a squad,” he added.

The exclusion of Alex Dombrandt means that Billy Vunipola is the only specialist number eight bound for France next month.

Vunipola is chosen despite not having played since April because of two knee surgeries and missing the entire Six Nations after being frozen out by Borthwick on form grounds.

Lewis Ludlam, Ben Earl and Tom Curry provide cover and are present among a large contingent of versatile forwards.

“I decided we’d have three players in key positions – front row, scrum-half, fly-half,” added Borthwick. “That means in the other areas of the team you need to have positional flexibility.

“For me it’s about making the decision on the right combination and ultimately that’s what it’s come down to.”

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Courtney Lawes, Dan Cole and Ben Youngs will be appearing at their fourth World Cups in a squad that contains more than 1,400 caps and is comprised of 19 forwards and 14 backs.

Owen Farrell was confirmed as captain last month with Lawes and Ellis Genge acting as his vice-skippers.

England will face Argentina, Japan, Samoa and Chile in Group D in what is regarded as the kinder half of the World Cup draw.

Squad in full

Forwards

Props: Dan Cole (Leicester), Ellis Genge (Bristol), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Bevan Rodd (Sale), Kyle Sinckler (Bristol), Will Stuart (Bath)

Hookers: Theo Dan (Saracens), Jamie George (Saracens), Jack Walker (Harlequins)

Locks: Ollie Chessum (Leicester), Maro Itoje (Saracens), David Ribbans (Toulon/FRA)

Back row: Tom Curry (Sale), Ben Earl (Saracens), Courtney Lawes (Northampton), Lewis Ludlam (Northampton), George Martin (Leicester), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Jack Willis (Toulouse/FRA)

Backs

Scrum-halves: Danny Care (Harlequins), Ben Youngs (Leicester), Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester)

Fly-halves: Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Sale), Marcus Smith (Harlequins)

Wings: Max Malins (Bristol), Anthony Watson (unattached), Elliot Daly (Saracens)

Centres: Ollie Lawrence (Bath), Joe Marchant (Stade Francais/FRA), Manu Tuilagi (Sale)

Full-backs: Henry Arundell (Racing 92/FRA), Freddie Steward (Leicester)

AFP

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