England name 35-man squad opener against Italy - Ruck

England name 35-man squad opener against Italy

England head coach Eddie Jones has named his squad to begin preparations for the side’s first match of the Six Nations against Italy in Rome.

Following this weekend’s club fixtures, 35 players will travel to Portugal for a week-long training camp before reconvening on Monday January 29 at Pennyhill Park ahead of the tournament opener.

Jones has selected eight uncapped players while there are 898 caps between the other 27 players in the squad.

21-year-old Harlequins prop Lewis Boyce is called up for the first time following club teammate Joe Marler receiving a six-week suspension last week. The 2016 World Rugby U20 Championship winner is in his first season at the west London club having signed from Yorkshire Carnegie.

Gary Graham (Newcastle Falcons) is retained having been involved in the England setup for the first time earlier this month in Brighton and Alec Hepburn (Exeter Chiefs) receives his first call up into the senior squad.

Outside backs Nathan Earle (Saracens) and Harry Mallinder (Northampton Saints) are also named. Both travelled on England’s tour of Argentina in June but were not capped.

“I have selected the strongest available squad to prepare for our opening match against Italy,” said Jones.

“I am expecting a really positive training camp in Portugal and while we have a few players unavailable through injury or suspension, it has provided opportunity for others who will be desperate to be involved in the Italy game.”

Mike Brown, Nathan Earle*, Harry Mallinder*, Jonny May, Denny Solomona, Anthony Watson, Danny Care, Owen Farrell, George Ford, Jonathan Joseph, Alex Lozowski, Jack Nowell, Henry Slade, Ben Te’o, Marcus Smith*, Ben Youngs
Gary Graham*, Nick Isiekwe, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Courtney Lawes, Joe Launchbury, Zach Mercer*, Chris Robshaw, Sam Simmonds, Sam Underhill, Lewis Boyce*, Dan Cole, Tom Dunn*, Jamie George, Dylan Hartley, Alec Hepburn*, Kyle Sinckler, Mako Vunipola, Harry Williams