England Rugby Squad Training in Brighton

Eddie Jones

England head coach Eddie Jones has selected a training squad to take part in a New Year training camp, taking place in Brighton this week.

23 year-old prop Beno Obano (Bath Rugby) and Newcastle Falcons’ openside flanker Gary Graham received their first call ups into the England squad.

Eddie Jones said: “This camp in Brighton is important for us to set the tone as a squad ahead of the Six Nations. We will need to improve if we are to hunt down our opponents and beat them. This tournament will be exciting and challenging, as we know we will play against some very strong teams.

“Brighton will provide a great base to begin our preparations with players coming away with a clear plan for our opening match of the campaign against Italy.”

Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints) misses the camp for personal reasons.

An England squad for the Six Nations tournament will be announced on Thursday 18 January before the squad departs for a week’s training camp in Portugal three days later. England has won the last two tournaments including the Grand Slam in 2016.

The originally-named England training squad for Brighton camp:

Backs
Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Nathan Earle (Saracens)
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
George Ford (Leicester Tigers)
Piers Francis (Northampton Saints)
Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby)
Jonny May (Leicester Tigers)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
Marcus Smith (Harlequins) *
Denny Solomona (Sale Sharks)
Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Forwards
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
Tom Dunn (Bath Rugby)
Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby)
Jamie George (Saracens)
Gary Graham (Newcastle Falcons)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
James Haskell (Wasps)
Nick Isiekwe (Saracens)
Maro Itoje (Saracens)
Joe Launchbury (Wasps)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby) *
Beno Obano (Bath Rugby)
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs)
Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs)

*Apprentice players

And then, following injuries sustained at the weekend, Charlie Ewels (hamstring), Piers Francis (concussion), Jonathan Joseph (dead leg), Jack Nowell (ankle) and Harry Williams (concussion) did not join up with England for their training camp.

Henry Thomas (Bath Rugby) and Joe Cockanisinga (London Irish) were called up into the squad for the two-day camp in Brighton.

What do you make of this squad?

24 thoughts on “England Rugby Squad Training in Brighton

  1. Beno Obano looks like a really good player, it’s just a shame it’s another loose-head! With Mako, Marler and Genge already providing a lot of competition that side of the scrum it’d be great to see a tight-head come through.

    Hill and Brookes have failed to develop as hoped, and it’s really just Sinkler challenging Cole. Harry Williams looks ok too but that pool of options certainly lacks the quality in depth that England have on the other side of the scrum.

    No George Kruis was the biggest news for me. Below Ewel in the pecking order now?

    1. Jamal Ford Robinson is performing well in a poor Saints pack but I expect his performances will decline the longer he is under Wests tutelage

      1. Interesting point on that. With a change in forwards coach, do you think Paul Hill and Kieran Brookes can become they players that the initial promise suggested?

        1. Paul Hill might be salvageable but Brookes is fat and lazy, there were signs of it a Newcastle but the rot has set in now and I don’t see him realising his potential.

            1. Agree with that. I think it was down in NZ in 2014 that he made a few massive impacts off the bench. He moved from Newcastle to Saints that summer though I think so potentially that’s where it all went wrong…

              Starting to look even worse for West when you put it like that

  2. It would be appreciated if someone could ask EJ what his plans are at scrum half if one or both of Youngs and Care aren’t available. Is that ever going to be addressed? Really odd.

    Cockanasiga looks like a real weapon from the very limited amount I’ve seen, but I’m guessing there are plenty of weaknesses in his game still.

    Gary Graham feels like a selection made just to wind people up. All the best to him though.

  3. Not too much to argue about apart from the fact that Hartley is in no sort of form at present and would not rate in the top six English hookers in the Prem. He was completely outplayed by Dave Ward at the weekend, and EJ then saw Yeandle, who is apparently nowhere near the squad, put in a proper hooker´s performance for Exeter when LC-D (who I presume is injured again) went off. Haywood as usual looked livelier than Hartley, who missed 5 tackles out of twelve, couldn´t hit his jumpers and did nothing in the loose. Surely he has to go soon? Great to see that Haskell´s return to form has been recognised but not sure why Graham is there instead of Armand who has been tearing up trees for two seasons. Interesting that Isiekwe and Ewels are now in front of Kruis in the 2nd row pecking order. Good to see Billy V back. Don´t think Solomona has paid his dues or shown sufficient long term club form to be there in front of the likes of Woodburn. Why is Francis in the original squad? He looks completely at sea in Premiership rugby lately. Good to see another lively young prop pushing on in Ben Obano. Cockanisinga? Why?

    1. I’m not sure Hartley’s form for Saints will be considered at all, and you can’t begrudge EJ for that.

      The ABs have always selected based on a players form in a black shirt first, with their club form always secondary by a mile. Nonu would often go into tournaments in ‘poor form’ at club level and be great for them.

      Whilst I’m not suggesting Hartley’s form in the Autumn would make him undroppable – he was good. Jones clearly wants a hooker that first and foremost scrummages and throws perfectly in an England shirt, and Hartley has done that for him. Add in the fact that he is clearly an outstanding captain and a real leader in the England dressing room, he’s going nowhere before 2019.

      1. Hartley has clearly lead England well, but his leadership was non-existent for Saints at the weekend!!
        Surely if you can’t lead your club team properly your captaincy should be in question for your country!?

        1. I disagree, they’re completely unrelated. Different camps, different staff, team members and more than likely, different needs.

          Care spoke about what he brings a little bit on the latest BBC podcast with Ugo Monye, and he clearly drives the standards in the camp and is a massive part of what England have delivered under Jones.

          Undoubtedly Farrell would be a great England captain, and post-2019 he may well get his chance to prove it.

      2. Hartley’ s form in the Autumn was no better than 6 out of 10, and he has been rubbish for most of the club season. Haskell was dropped because his club form was poor. Why should Hartley be any different? Frankly admit I have never liked him but purely based on performance you cannot justify his continued selection.

  4. The other surprise for me is the omission of Lozowski in favor of Francis
    Loz has looked great for England whenever given a chance and performs well at Sarries while Francis had a good tour of Argentina and has done nothing of note since for club or country

    1. Hadn’t actually noticed that, he certainly looks a better player that Francis from what I’ve seen of him.

      Solomona over Roko continues too despite Roko getting game time over him in the Autumn.

  5. Got to agree with those who question Graham’s selection and the continuing omission of Robson. i’m starting to have a twinge of doubt about EJ and his slightly one eyed selections.
    I get his decision to keep Hartley in although that may well come back to bite him at some point . Obano looks a real power house but ,as has been said, we need to find a genuine challenger at 3. I’m not convinced by Sinckler and the lack of game time afforded Williams baffles me. Apart from Hill and Thomas, who isn’t setting the world alight i’m struggling. Help!

  6. I’ve never seen or heard of Graham before so can’t comment. But as he is a flanker/no.8 it does lead me to ask why Armand or Wray are not in the squad!?!?!?!

  7. With regard to Thomas and Cokanisinga, I expect that EJ was just using the substitute rule to have a look at them without really having any intention of them playing. Probably just trying to make up for limited access to players.

    1. I thought Collier was excellent on the last Argentina tour and Cooper – Woolley went with the Saxons to SA. Thanks for the reminder, i’d forgotten about them. maybe EJ needs a prompt too?

    1. Would have thought Mike Williams was the Leicester back row closest to selection as I’m sure he’s been in squads previously.

  8. Talking of back rows. I see Dave Ewers is back for Exeter. Really hope he can recover his old form – I think he has the potential to be a destructive international player – and if he can find his mojo again, possibly the answer to England’s ball carrying issues

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