An alternative England XV: Players unlucky to miss the Six Nations

Fly-half: Marcus Smith (Harlequins)

The 20-year-old, Jones’ original apprentice, was overlooked as a third fly-half at the expense of 21-year-old Wasp Jacob Umaga. However, his creative kicking tormented Saracens last weekend and he currently sits top of the pile as the Gallagher Premiership’s top-scorer with 95 points.

Scrum-half: Joe Simpson (Gloucester) 

The playmaker has an eye for the try line and accuracy from the boot. He’s been a star at Kingsholm this season, scoring eight tries for the Cherry and Whites with two coming against his former side Wasps. His single cap came in the pool stage of the 2011 Rugby World Cup against Georgia, coming off the bench for Ben Youngs.

Prop: Ross Harrison (Sale Sharks)

A legend at Sale in the making has made over 200 appearances for the club. He’s been invited to train with England a few times but is yet to make it into a squad. The powerhouse lays the platform for his team with some excellent work at the scrum while tacking anything that moves in defence.

Prop: Harry Thacker (Bristol Bears)

A skilful dynamo of a hooker, Thacker would have brought something different to the party. He would be in contention for All Blacks selection if he were a New Zealander, according to his boss Pat Lam.

Prop: Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)

Failed to make the squad after his mauling at the hands of the Springboks in the Rugby World Cup final. He is still a reliable hand but his questionable form with Tigers and the fact he’s probably past his peak means Jones will now look to introduce younger faces at tighthead moving forward.

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