January 20, 2020 / 12:15 PM / a month ago

CORRECTED-Rugby-Eight uncapped players in England Six Nations squad

(Corrects team of Tom Dunn from Exeter to Bath in squad list.)

By Mitch Phillips

LONDON, Jan 20 (Reuters) - England coach Eddie Jones included eight uncapped players but retained the bulk of his World Cup group when he named a 34-man squad for the Six Nations championship on Monday.

Jones included 22 players involved in Japan, where England lost in the final to South Africa, but many of the absentees are carrying injuries, including number eight Billy Vunipola, who broke his arm for the fourth time on Sunday.

Prop Dan Cole, who had a torrid time in the final against the Springboks, was an expected omission, while versatile back Jack Nowell was also missing, though Jones, who will hold a news conference later on Monday, might reveal an injury concern.

Of the uncapped group, Tom Dunn, Ben Earl and Ollie Thorley have been involved in previous squads, while Fraser Dingwall, George Furbank, Alex Moon, Will Stuart and Jacob Umaga are called up for the first time.

In addition to the 34 players, Josh Hodge, who plays in the second tier Championship, and Alex Mitchell have been called up as apprentices and will only train with the squad.

“The Guinness Six Nations for us is all about raising the standards in terms of the way we prepare, tactically and physically how we play the game, and the way we come together off the field,” Jones said in a statement.

“But our first task is beating France (in Paris on Feb. 2) and that is the only game we need to worry about. We will begin our preparations in Portugal, get a bit of sun, some warm conditions and get ourselves physically and mentally right for the game.

“The first three days will be about getting organised. We have got players from 11 clubs so we need to get everyone on the same page quickly, spend a lot of time working on our togetherness and then by Tuesday next week we are in preparation for France.”

England will assemble at their regular Pennyhill Park base on Wednesday and travel to Portugal on Thursday, from where they will go direct to Paris for their opening game.

England have not won the championship since 2017, finishing second last season and a distant fifth in 2018.

England Six Nations squad:

Forwards

Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 21 caps)

Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 19 caps)

Tom Dunn (Bath Rugby, uncapped)

Ben Earl (Saracens, uncapped)

Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 12 caps)

Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 14 caps)

Jamie George (Saracens, 45 caps)

Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors, 1 cap)

Maro Itoje (Saracens, 34 caps)

George Kruis (Saracens, 41 caps)

Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 62 caps)

Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 81 caps)

Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 6 caps)

Joe Marler (Harlequins, 68 caps)

Alex Moon (Northampton Saints, uncapped)

Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 31 caps)

Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, uncapped)

Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 15 caps)

Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 58 caps)

Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 18 caps).

Backs

Elliot Daly (Saracens, 39 caps)

Ollie Devoto (Exeter Chiefs, 1 cap)

Fraser Dingwall (Northampton Saints, uncapped)

Owen Farrell (Saracens, 79 caps)

George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 65 caps)

George Furbank (Northampton Saints, uncapped)

Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, 9 caps)

Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 47 caps)

Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 52 caps)

Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped)

Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 40 caps)

Jacob Umaga (Wasps, uncapped)

Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 42 caps)

Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 95 caps)

Apprentice players

Alex Mitchell (Northampton Saints, uncapped)

Josh Hodge (Newcastle Falcons, uncapped) (Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by)

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