"Unbelievable" - Zach Mercer among 10 England players released by Steve Borthwick - Ruck

“Unbelievable” – Zach Mercer among 10 England players released by Steve Borthwick

Theo Dan, the uncapped Saracens hooker, and Danny Care, the veteran scrum half, have been named in Steve Borthwick’s training squad for this autumn’s Rugby World Cup.

You can view his full squad here.

“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.

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

The England head coach will name his 33-player squad for the 2023 Rugby World Cup on August 7. There are no further trims until then.


#1.Zach Mercer (Gloucester)

After making a return to the Premiership with Gloucester from Montpellier, there were high expectations for Mercer’s potential comeback to the England team. However, the decision to exclude Zach and opt for the inexperienced yet powerful Tom Willis surely comes as a significant blow to the former Bath number 8.

A number of fans couldn’t understand the decision with one writing: “On what planet is Dommers a better player? I just do not get it.”

A second commented: “Bet Zach Mercer is chuffed. Told to come home by Eddie Jones and when he does his replacement Steve Borthwick dumps him.”

Another said: “Sometimes it’s hard to get a grasp of who is missing etc in a big squad like that at first. But just seen Zach Mercer is out…..I can’t fathom this

George Martin of England (Leicester Tigers) skips the tackle of Zach Mercer of England (Montpellier HŽrault Rugby) during the an England Rugby Training session at the Brighton College, Sussex on the 19th June 2023 – PHOTO: Micah Crook/PPAUK

#2. Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints)

In a shocking turn of events, Northampton’s talented playmaker Mitchell has been omitted from the squad, despite making a series of impressive appearances for England during the 2023 Six Nations. Not only did Mitchell showcase his skills on the international stage, but he also proved to be one of the most consistent performers for the Saints. The decision to exclude him has undoubtedly raised eyebrows among fans and pundits alike.

Alex Mitchell of Northampton Saints during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Match between Harlequins and Northampton Saints at Twickenham Stadium on 27 December 2021. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK