New England coach Borthwick leaves out Vunipola for Six Nations as Farrell remains captain

By Sports Desk January 16, 2023

Billy Vunipola has been left out of new head coach Steve Borthwick's 36-man England squad for the upcoming Six Nations, though Owen Farrell will be kept on as captain.

Other notable omissions alongside Vunipola are Jonny May and Jack Nowell, with a combined 180 England Test appearances between the three players.

Dan Cole is included, having received the most recent of his 95 caps in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final defeat to South Africa, while Northampton Saints fly-half Fin Smith is among the five uncapped players Borthwick has picked.

The other potential debutants are London Irish's Ollie Hassell-Collins and Gloucester hooker George McGuigan, as well as Harlequins duo Cadan Murley and Jack Walker.

Farrell and Marcus Smith were also named, with the former set to remain captain having occupied the role under previous head coach Eddie Jones.

England's first game with their new boss will be against Scotland in the Six Nations at Twickenham on February 4, though they likely already have one eye on the 2023 Rugby World Cup, which begins in September.

Borthwick said: "This is an exciting squad, with a blend of Six Nations experience and young talent, and includes players who are in excellent form in the Premiership.

"We are all looking forward to the challenges of the Six Nations and we will approach this great tournament with a spirit of courage and total commitment.

"I know the players can't wait to get back to Twickenham and give our fans a performance they can be proud of.

"The hard work for the Scotland game starts now."

England squad: Forwards: Ollie Chessum, Dan Cole, Ben Curry, Alex Dombrandt, Ben Earl, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Joe Heyes, Jonny Hill, Nick Isiekwe, Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, George McGuigan, Bevan Rodd, Sam Simmonds, Kyle Sinckler, Mako Vunipola, Jack Walker, Jack Willis.

Backs: Elliot Daly, Owen Farrell (captain), Tommy Freeman, Ollie Hassell-Collins, Dan Kelly, Max Malins, Joe Marchant, Alex Mitchell, Cadan Murley, Henry Slade, Fin Smith, Marcus Smith, Freddie Steward, Manu Tuilagi, Jack van Poortvliet, Ben Youngs.

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