Six Nations 2018: England Training Squad Update

Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones

England head coach Eddie Jones has called up 32 players for this week’s training camp in London.

As part of the fallow week England will train against the Georgian national side for two days (Tuesday and Wednesday) before an open training session at Twickenham stadium on Friday morning.

England will play Scotland in their third NatWest 6 Nations match on Saturday 24 February at Murrayfield (KO 4.45pm).

England beat Wales on Saturday 12-6 at Twickenham following their 46-15 win over Italy on the opening weekend of the tournament.


Full backs
Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Gabriel Ibitoye (Harlequins) *
Harry Mallinder (Northampton Saints)
Jonny May (Leicester Tigers)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)
Denny Solomona (Sale Sharks)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)

Inside backs
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
George Ford (Leicester Tigers)
Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby)
Marcus Smith (Harlequins) *
Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors)
Richard Wigglesworth (Saracens)


Back five
Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby)
James Haskell (Wasps)
Nathan Hughes (Wasps)
Nick Isiekwe (Saracens)
Maro Itoje (Saracens)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Joe Launchbury (Wasps)
Zach Mercer (Bath Rugby)
Sam Moore (Sale Sharks) *
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby)

Front row
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs)
Jamie George (Saracens)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs)

* Apprentice players

Gabriel Ibitoye and Sam Moore are the headline names here, called up as apprentice players. Wales had had their eye on Moore, whose father and uncle played for Wales.

12 thoughts on “Six Nations 2018: England Training Squad Update

    1. Having watched Ibitoye for the under 20’s on Friday night you can see why EJ wants to have a good look at him. He has stunning pace and power for a nineteen year old. I agree that bringing in Moore is designed to wind up the Welsh, but I like the way EJ appears to be giving some good young players a taster with an eye to the future. Hopefully Jack Willis sol feature in a squad soon. Like many I simply don’t understand why there is not another scrum half being given opportunities.

  1. There is no way Nathan Hughes should be there. He has just come back from a bad injury and is clearly not yet fit. Watching him in the Quins v Wasps game, where he played for what, 20 minutes? He was already blowing by the end. If he is not fit for a full Prem game yet, what on earth is Eddie thinking? He will simply get broken again, this time in training. Sometimes I do truly wonder whether EJ cares about player welfare at all.

    1. Probably a bit harsh – Hughes has only been out for a month, and a week training in the England camp is more likely to get him back and ready to go against Scotland in two weeks.

      I’d imagine Jones is working to make sure he can get 50 minutes from him in two weeks, then with another week off, he’ll be well positioned to go for the final two fixtures.

    2. Trevor, Hughes was a regular before his injury, so I think it makes perfect sense for him to come back into the squad.

      A squad of 32 remember. Your argument is valid if Jones had named him as a starter this weekend.

      Surely if Wasps believe he is is good for 20mins, then it is reasonable to see what he is like at an England training session.

  2. why is there so much cover/so many options at wing and second row, and so little at scrum half and flanker…

    I thought Eddie liked our wingers. And we have Daly to come back.

    1. God knows for scrum-halves, I can only think that Jones has a personal hatred for 9s so keeps their numbers to a minimum.

      As for flankers, it seems to be this strange belief that locks can play 6 as well as players who play in that position week in, week out and have done for years. So EJ looks at his flanker options and sees Lawes, Itoje and Ewels as well as the actual flankers

      1. I would put Isiekwe in that group as well. Another player who has played at 6 for their club but is actually a lock.

        Mercer is definitely worth a shot if Simmonds is crocked. A back row of Robshaw, Underhill and Mercer with Hughes on the bench? Mercer may not be the big bulky 8 or the rapid stocky 8 like Simmonds, but he is a slippery player who seems to wriggle and spin his way out of tackles and keep moving forward.

      2. Conversely Pablito, he looks at his Locks, and finds a way to fit 4 of them into a matchday 23?

        They may be found out at some point, but with a lighter, quicker 8, and a ball-handling Loose-head, the pack still maintains balance.

      3. I guess that is why they are named as “front row” and “back five”.
        It always used to be “front five” and “back row”.

  3. Rationale: why so many locks? We have lots of world class ones. It is now a key position in attack and defence. England depends entirely on its scrum and lineout for its devastating attack….. the game is evolving and typically the Eddie Jones of the world are the ones to see the trend before us mere mortals. Perhaps the old school view of perfectly balanced back row etc is fast becoming flawed and the paradigm is changing to versatility and adaptability with set piece skills at a premium?

    Why so many wings? They are clearly called outside backs- defining them as interchangeable. Again looking for evidence see how England use their most powerful players (at tier 1 I’d suggest wings are from a weight to ratio perspective) to carry and how they care about the aerial game. Take the sticks of wings away and Englands core game plan falls apart.

    Rationale 3: 9s don’t interchange (think Farrell, slade etc) ….. he wants to give equal training time, have equal sides etc… the coverage in training dilutes with a third 9 in camp.

    1. Geraint, I get your rational for the locks. Just. While I am more understanding of playing Lawes at 6 than many on here, I tend to feel this should be a stand in measure. It comes down to: with Robshaw injured, are we better off having Lawes on the pitch than any other player in the premiership. This might depend on who else is available to play at 7 and 8. But at the moment Eddie doesn’t seem to have any options to replace Robshaw apart from Lawes. Haskell might be one (though Eddie usually plays him at 7) but he is not on good form and Eddie has acknowledged as much with recent training squad selections. Picking so many locks Eddie seems to be actively choosing to play a lock at 6.

      Back 3 – the problem with this is that there is only 1 fullback (Mike Brown). There are 5 guys covering 2 wing spots. I am guessing Mallinder is in as a FB – he is not really winger fast.

      9s – I don’t but this. Eddie has more than 30 players in his training squads. There will always be spares for 15 on 15 work. Eddie has 3 or 4 players covering most backs positions in training squads. SH is one of 4 positions that will definitely have 2 players in the matchday 23. So in reality, there is no backup at SH. We have been using our 4th choice loose head prop. He is a young guy who may well come through to challenge for first choice one day. 3rd choice loosehead = young guy.
      3rd choice SH = 34 year old who is not someone I would want at WC19.

      Eddie is winning. I am not saying his selections are wrong, but I don’t understand his one. It worries me.


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