England Squad for Rugby World Cup 2019

Eddie Jones

Eddie Jones has named the final 31-man England squad to continue preparations for the Rugby World Cup 2019.

Owen Farrell will captain England in his second Rugby World Cup.

The squad of 31 players have over 1,000 caps with 17 having played in at least one of the previous Rugby World Cups.

The 2019 edition of the tournament will be the third for Dan Cole, Courtney Lawes and Ben Youngs. Cole and Youngs are the most capped in the squad (86).

After an impressive first season in the Premiership, having converted to the XVs game from sevens, Ruaridh McConnochie is the only uncapped player named.

Following their first caps against Wales on Sunday, which saw England win 33-19 at Twickenham, Lewis Ludlam, Jack Singleton and Willi Heinz are also included.

Jones said: “Today is another step in the progress towards the Rugby World Cup. We have taken the decision to go early because of what we learned from previous campaigns. We want the squad to know early and now we can get on and be the best prepared England side there has ever been, ready to win the World Cup.”

On the players not selected Jones added: “A lot of good players have missed out, we feel for them, I feel for them personally. But as we know the World Cup is an incredible tournament where opportunities can present themselves and all those players who have missed out have been told they have to be ready.”

England have three matches against Wales (17 August), Ireland (24 August) and Italy (6 September) before the tournament starts. Jones said of their importance: “Every game is an opportunity to improve our game fitness, our team cohesion, and our tactical adaptability. Each game for us will have a specific purpose.”

To mark the squad announcement, a special video has been released to celebrate the players’ journey from community club and junior school rugby to their selection in England’s Rugby World Cup squad.

Watch the video – here

“The base of our game has always been the grassroots clubs,” said Jones. “Your first club and your first coach is such an important experience for you. It dictates how you approach the game and the spirit and the values you play with.”

He added: “To all the people that have helped the players get here, we have the greatest amount of thanks for all of you.”

The squad will visit Blaise High School (formerly Henbury School) in Bristol this afternoon to speak to media. The school has been involved in the RFU’s All Schools programme since 2012. Over 50 boys and girls involved in rugby programmes at the school and Clifton Rugby Club, which is linked to the school, will take part in rugby sessions involving the players and coaches.

England will begin their Rugby World Cup campaign in Japan against Tonga in Sapporo (22 September, KO 11:15am UK time) before playing USA Rugby in Kobe (26 September, KO 11:45am UK time), Argentina in Tokyo (5 October, KO 09:00am UK time) and France in Yokohama (12 October, KO 09:15am UK time).

England’s official Rugby World Cup squad

Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 86 caps) **
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 12 caps)
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 11 caps)
Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 10 caps)
Jamie George (Saracens, 37 caps) *
Maro Itoje (Saracens, 27 caps)
George Kruis (Saracens, 32 caps) *
Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 59 caps) *
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 72 caps) **
Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 1 cap)
Joe Marler (Harlequins, 58 caps) *
Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 22 caps)
Jack Singleton (Saracens, 1 cap)
Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 9 caps)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 42 caps) *
Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 53 caps) *
Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons / Sale Sharks, 13 caps)

Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 5 caps)
Elliot Daly (Saracens, 31 caps)
Owen Farrell (Saracens, 70 caps) *
George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 56 caps) *
Piers Francis (Northampton Saints, 5 caps)
Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, 1 cap)
Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 41 caps) *
Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 45 caps) *
Ruaridh McConnochie (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 33 caps) *
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 22 caps) *
Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 33 caps) *
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 34 caps) *
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 86 caps) **

81 thoughts on “England Squad for Rugby World Cup 2019

  1. Ruaridh McConnochie, Willi Heinz, Jack Singleton Piers Francis and Lewis Ludlam all in.

    Te’o, Shields, Williams, Brown all out.

      1. Understand Shields missing out is over injury, and Ludlam did look good at the weekend, but that is a massive call to not bring back Robshaw and opt for a 1-capper, in an already relatively inexperienced back row group (Curry and Underhill have 20 caps between them).

        McConnochie im ok with as a risk given the depth of options in the back three. But the knock on effect of so many back-3 players is taking only two tightheads, which is a hell of a gamble…

        Te’o must have done something pretty bad to lose his spot… a lion and he was looking like first choice 12 going into the 6N before injury gave Manu a chance. Replaced by Francis – looked tidy at the weekend but hardly set the world alight for England so far. Quite a dramatic fall from grace…

      2. Are there any details regarding this, or have they done well to keep it within the camp? Intrigued as to what happened.

  2. Happy aside from the inclusion of Francis and apprehensive about the inclusion of the untested McConnochie…however I hear he has done great things at Bath and has some degree of international experience by way of his 7s career.

    I was expecting Shields to be included, but pleased he hasn’t been.

    Here’s hoping for an injury free warm up period and a great World Cup!

    1. McConnochie was, imo, Bath’s best player last year. Always a threat going forward, beating defenders with pace to burn, and seemed pretty solid defensively. He’ll do well.

      Whether he should have been included at the expense of a 3rd TH/SH is another question. Similarly with Francis.

      1. I assume you’re alluding to my satisfaction that Brad Shields hasn’t been included? My first choice “makeshift” replacement would be Chris Robshaw.

              1. Once again you are allocating opinions I don´t have to me Don. I don´t “hate” Shields at all. I think he is a perfectly decent rugby player and probably a decent human being. I just don´t want him fast tracked into the England set up at the expense of people who have served their time and played better in the Premiership last season.

  3. Well…pretty good. Nothing too daft, though I can’t get on board with Francis and despite Ludlam’s excellent showing yesterday, having no obvious cover for Billy is a worry.

    1. JK – pretty much exactly my thoughts. I guess Wilson provides cover for 8 though.

      Have to say that when you look at the size of the squad and consider the attrition of international rugby, you do wonder if a squad size of 31 is really enough. I guess it puts the tier one countries on a more level playing field with the tier two countries who don’t have the player numbers to have the same strength in depth though.

      1. I’ll show some ignorance/failing memory here, but what’s the score with injury call ups during the tournament? Are they allowed?

        1. yes injury call ups allowed but the replaced player is then unable to return to the squad.
          Say Youngs gets a niggle in the first game that will rule him out for 2 matches, do you then send him home and call up spencer or do you try and limp through 2 games with no cover on the bench so Youngs can still play the knockouts

            1. Might be worth them (and the likes of Cipriani, Robshaw etc) planning a last minute holiday to Japan… remember when the welsh guys Dacey, Francis, Hill, Gareth Davies etc got called up to the Lions by virtue of already being in New Zealand

  4. Still would rather have Morgan over Ludlum and not sure we need RM as an extra back 3 player, rather have taken an extra front row (wonder how Moon feels about Marler decision?). Feel sorry for Spencer too but hopefully Heinz will bring a bit more leadership late in games

  5. Amazing amount of experience being left behind – and not just left behind but totally discarded – Brown, Robshaw, Care, Hartley (injury) etc… Will be good to see if the thrusters can manage. I don’t see too many contentious calls in there – apart from Maconochie who I have never seen play.

    With injuries I expect this squad could have as many as 5 changes by the time it takes off for Japan…

    Moot point but I’d have liked Jones to have taken a look at Devoto – can’t see what Francis offers that he doesn’t plus he has the extra physicality.

  6. Not sure about selecting Cole over Williams feels like a selection based on reputation
    Would have probably preferred Spencer over Heinz but Heinz is a good player in decent form so not much in it
    Francis over Marchant or anyone for that matter is a pick based on versatility alone which doesn’t make sense given how versatile the backline already is with Watson, Nowell, Daly, Slade and Farrell all playing multiple positions.
    McConnochie seems an odd choice given he is uncapped new to 15’s and selected ahead of other proven wingers like Ashton or Rockoduguni
    And finally the cupboard looks a bit bare in the 6/8 positions as Ludlam, Curry and Underhill are all 7’s and Wilson is the only 6 and the only 8 cover.

    other than that it is a pretty decent squad 😉

  7. Well done to all those players selected. Whilst there may be a few I would disagree with, the coaches have their reasons. From this 31 a very good 23 is easily pickable.

    From yesterdays game I am happy with the inclusion of Heinz and Ludlam. Don’t know enough about McConnochie to cmment, but I still don’t see the point of taking Francis. I would rather we took Williams as an extra tighthead and leave Francis at home. We would still have plenty of back line cover.
    My 23: 1.Mako, 2.George, 3.Sinckler, 4. Itoje, 5. Kruis, 6. Wilson, 7. Curry, 8. Billy, 9. Youngs, 10. Farrell, 11. May/Daly? 12. Tuilagi, 13. Slade, 14. Nowell, 15. Watson
    16. Cowan-Dickie, 17. Marler, 18. Cole, 19. Lawes, 20, Ludlam, 21, Heinz, 22. Ford, 23. May/Daly.

    1. I’d go for the same squad Dazza, but a back three of Daly (at 15… although tempted to go for Watson there and Daly back on the wing), Watson and May, with Nowell on the bench, and Underhill over Ludlam on the bench.

    2. Agreed with the 23 Dazza – Daly hasn’t been at his best for a little while so he’s on the bench for me. If he does start it would be at the expense of Watson, May has become undroppable. Could really do with a 24th spot for Cokanasiga!

      1. I think Daly’s massive boot puts him in the starting XV, particularly come knock out games. Tries will become rarer, and the ability to get 3 points from half way will become invaluable.

        1. Not if you miss tackles, drop high balls and make dodgy offloads as Daly is inclined to do Henno. To me, when you have Goode and Browne, both class full backs it beggars belief that we are likely to have two out of position wingers vying for the place.

    3. If Nowell and May are both fit, Daly is, at best, on the bench for me. He has had a few chances at fullback and hasn’t ever looked convincing defensively – tackling, positioning, or under the high all – so I would have AW at 15 and Nowell and May on the wings. Both of which have played very well in that position over the last 12 months.

      1. I would have to agree with you Jake. With Watson back I would rather see him in the 15 shirt. As someone else pointed out though, Daly’s ability to knock over penalties from England’s half of the pitch could make a difference. If he has to play I would have him on the wing or in his preferred position at 13. Would be interested to see him outside Tuilagi!?

      2. I have a feeling Daly is off form wherever he plays so is very lucky to be selected.At best he should a utility back with a specialist 15 Brown or Goode as 1st choice.Jones has the odd blind spot and doesn’t see the same as the rest of us.
        Maconnochie too risky for me over Roko and Ashton.Glad Shields isn’t going but Armand would be my 1st choice any time.We are light on cover for 6 and 8.Amazing -he only chose 7’s coz of injury-now we have 2.

    4. From the squad that EJ has picked Dazza, I can go along with most of that. Personally I would start with Cole as the better scrummager and bring Sinkler on to make an impact after no more than 50 minutes, but with two tight heads only EJ has given himself no option to give either of them a complete rest over a potential nine games which is completely daft with a tight head who has to use more strength than anyone else on the field. I´m not a fan of Youngs but he seems to be Eddie´s go to 9 so will almost certainly start. The only player I would completely disagree with you about is Joe Launchbury. He was absolutely class against Wales on Sunday, and his ability to organise a defence around the ruck is second to none. He would be one of the first names on my team sheet, with Lawes on the bench and Kruis waiting in the wings. Difficult choice though, as we are spoiled for locks. Wish the same applied to scrum halves and number 8´s.

  8. Got to say, surprised that Ashton didn’t get anywhere near the final squad. All the talk about players missing out understandably focusing on Cip, Brown, and now Te’o, but given Jones really encouraged Ashton to come back from France, selected him in the Autumn, has been in lethal form for the last two years, only to be dropped for the uncapped (although a very exciting talent) McConnochie (and 4-cap Cokanasiga, although he’s a different kind of player). Jones is definitely gambling on potential in a few players.

    1. Ashton dropped out under his own accord, he’s one of those players who could jump straight into squad though should an injury require it, and I imagine Eddie wouldn’t have any qualms calling him up

      1. Aha totally misread that story when it came out, thought he had just pulled out of one prelim training camp, not the whole World Cup. Thanks for that!

  9. This is how I see it, feel free to comment/amend:

    Loosehead: Mako, Marler, Genge (Genge goes as Mako must be an injury doubt)

    Tighthead: Dan Cole, Sinckler

    Hooker: George, Cowan-Dickie, Singleton

    Lock: Itoje, Kruis, Launchbury, Lawes

    Openside: Ludlam, Underhill (Lawes)

    Blindside: Curry, Wilson (Itoje)

    Number 8: Billy (WIlson)

    Scrum Half: Youngs, Heinz

    Fly Half: Ford, Farrell (Francis) (Slade)

    Inside: Francis, Slade (Farrell)

    Outside: Joseph, Tui (Daly) (Nowell)

    Wing: May, Mconnoghie, Nowell, Coknasinga (Daly) (Watson)

    Fullback: Daly, Watson (Nowell)

    We seem to have cover everywhere but experienced cover?

    Also I always get nervous when 3 scrum halves are not named.

    1. Wilson played a season in the second row for Newcastle if I remember rightly, so in a pinch he could fill in there.

      On yesterday’s evidence I’d say Ludlam is backing up Wilson on the blindside with Curry and Underhill fighting it out for 7.

      Tuilagi at 12 and Slade at 13, although the centres are a moveable feast.

      1. We are still down at least one back rower though. No cover at eight is ludicrous, especially if billy AND wilson get crocked.

  10. Just had a snippet come my way. Apparently McConnochie is an incredibly versatile player as he played prop at junior school so is covering tighthead and once played at scrum half so is our third choice there as well. Now happy that all of our bases are covered…….

    Obviously just kidding. Bit worried that we are one injury away from problems at tighthead, No 8, Scrum half and flyhalf, but I guess that is tournament rugby. Always going to be short at some positions, however I would almost go as far to say that they are four of the five most important positions on a team with hooker as the other. That does seem like a gamble to me.

    Shame Morgan isn’t going but I do understand that as he is a specialist 8, he has lost out on versatility in the back row. Hope he is on standby just in case something happened to big Billy. Fingers crossed it doesn’t though as he is so important to the way England play.

  11. Only 2 tightheads with one of them being penalty machine Dan Cole makes me extremely nervous. Would rather have had Harry Williams and dropped McConnochie. Not sold on taking Francis at all, it means if Manu breaks we have no like for like replacement. What if both Manu and Billy get injured? Where is the power to get over the gain line?

    1. To be fair Bolter, one of the things that Cole seems to have really worked on since being dropped is his penalty count. True, if we get SH refs who are a bit fussy about the application of the dark arts in the tight he is always likely to get pinged, but at least he is not taking his afternoon nap on top of the ball any more. I would always take 3 tight heads as any scrum racks if the anchor is not solid, but I suspect that because Cole and Sinkler seem to be a lot less injury prone than Mako or Genge he has taken the three loose heads instead.

        1. So long as they’re cracks or racks, but not rocks.. in yr head Andy! Otherwise you might have to apply for a job as a fussy SH ref?! I know you’re not biased, of course.

          1. Whereas I am fairly certain you are Don. Not sure I could keep up with the game nowadays. Slightly past my prime.

  12. Sorry Eddie, two tight heads, Daly, no extra eight,Francis, so many rookies and no teo for when Manu gets crocked?
    I hope we win it but in all seriousness and despite sundays showing, I genuinely think Wales and ireland will go further in the competition and we will be lucky to make the semis.

    1. I was reading in The Times today that Marler is being used as a back up tight head (though he hasn’t played there in more than a decade). More gambles…

      1. A lot of fuss being made about only taking 2 tightheads but lets check the facts. No England rugby coach has ever taken more props and 5 props is the established norm for a 31 man squad
        2003 4 props (30 man squad)
        2007 4 props (30 man squad)
        2011 4 props (30 man squad)
        2015 5 props (31 man squad)

  13. Anyone else remember that against Scotland the minute Cole replaced Sink we shipped 3 tries in quick succession. Absolutely no idea why he is there and Williams isn’t. His on field stats are generally terrible as in zero tackles, zero carries and endless penalties. I wouldn’t worry so much if there were 3 tightheads but this particular selection has disaster written all over it. It really runs counter to.received wisdom to have so.many in the back 3 and skimp.on forwards. Still.think Ben Morgan should be there as well.

  14. Anyone remember “3 world class players in every position, maaayte”?
    Does this squad have TWO in every position? how can it when ludlam , Mcconnochie, Heinz and Singleton have seven caps between them. Not that they don’t all have huge potential but now is not the right time to be gambling in so cavalier a fashion. We screwed it up big time in ’15 due to last minute yips and shoehorning certain individuals into a squad that didn’t need them. Seems like history may be about to repeat itself.

    1. I think that the land of his birth may have their own problems at the moment Acee, and he has taken his eye off the English ball for a bit. Enjoy it while you can, I´ve no doubt he´ll be back!

      1. What problems Andy? 1 loss & still no. 1? You suffering from the old 1 swallow syndrome? Some restraint before nxt Sat required, then some perspective may be obtained. Not compulsory, but you can address me directly if you wish.

        1. I’ve seen 1 Swallow 1 Goose and a Thrush
          its not so much the 1 loss (and a draw) but the nature of the way they are playing. Error strewn performance to squeeze past Argies Failed to close out a lead against SA and were second best to Australia (even before the card).
          Retalick injury is a key concern as NZ don’t seem to play as well without him.

          1. Could do with a thread to discuss the very interesting RC results.
            The ABs losing badly to a poor Aussie team was a shock to say the least – but then this is not a vintage AB team

              1. Missed you too Don.
                Whatever happens next Sat doesn’t erase last Sat.
                And don’t think I’m picking on the ABs either. I’ve argued for a while now that the standard at international level at the moment is not that good.

            1. That’s predisposing that it’s a poor Aus team, but then you’ve had yr head buried somewhere for the last few mths Pab. HIA perhaps? Stress recovery due Eddie’s irrational selections, tactics, results v say Wales, Scots last 6N? Did you actually SEE the RC match? Of course it’s a rhetorical ? that you ask, otherwise you may have noticed the red elephant in the room. However, it’s good if you actually believe what you state regds NZ. Must make you wonder, seeing as they’re so plying so badly (1 loss in how long is it?) , how on earth they’re only ranked @ er, No.1. Hot damn. Just so hard to figure ain’t it? May be prudent to have held yr water until AFTER nxt Sat, when we may see whether sealed lips (or typing fingers) gather gather no moss.. or not. H days.

          2. Leon, you read too much into too little to be taken seriously. Besides, Rassie Erasmus disagrees with you. You might better look to yr own after last 6N. You know NZ fielded 2 different (or ‘experimental’) sides, like England apparently did on Sat. Hence AB’s dual fly1/2 combo. Whilst true, made errors, these are hardly typical or terminal & are fixable. Reality check. Lost 1, England 2 (6N), when @ full strength. Rather yr team 1st or 4th? Anyway, will see whom is ‘spot on’ nxt Sat, Retallick notwithstanding. Sure you’re not just 1 of those whom want to see the AB’s lose? Insecurity showing?

            1. Quite the opposite i normally want to see AB’s win as a strong all blacks raises the bar for everyone. At the moment i think the standard of rugby is not great internationally. Wales ranked 2nd despite scraping through some terrible performances in the 6N to extend their winning streak. England and Ireland in 3rd and 5th still trying to find themselves. and South Africa slowly coming back to form under Erasmus
              Hopefully with another month together as a group all nations can raise the bar before the world cup

              1. Totally agree Leon. The fact that a limited (although fit and very well drilled) Wales side won a Grand Slam and are almost number one in the world speaks to the overall weakness of the international game.
                In the North, Scotland are as mecurial as ever, god knows where France are at the moment, Italy seem to be stalling, Ireland are another well-drilled team but not very inventive and over-dependent on a couple of players and England don’t seem to know who they are or the style they want to play (or to be able to concentrate for more than 40 mins at a time)
                Down South, the Aussies are, despite last week’s performance, there for the taking – they have a number of highly skilled players but they don’t seem to play as a unit, they also have some weaknesses in the forwards. NZ aren’t a patch on the last WC team (though still the best in the world Don!) and have selection issues in the back row and centres – and really do not seem to perform so well without Retallick
                Arg flatter to deceive, one moment looking good, the next losing by 30 points at home.
                SA seem to be the only resurgent team world-wide – which is great as we need a strong Springboks side.
                Oh and I’d give Fiji a mention for looking more dangerous in the 15 man game than ever before.

          3. Leon, you read too much into too little to be taken seriously. Besides, Rassie Erasmus disagrees with you. You might better look to yr own after last 6N. You know NZ fielded 2 different (or ‘experimental’) sides, like England apparently did on Sat. Hence dual fly1/2 combo. Whilst made errors, these are hardly typical or terminal & are fixable. Reality check. Lost 1, England 2 (6N), when @ full strength. Rather yr team 1st or 4th? Anyway, will see whom is ‘spot on’ nxt Sat, Retallick notwithstanding. Sure you’re not just 1 of those whom want to see the AB’s lose? Maybe feeling insecure?

    2. On way home from Burgess Hill Acee. Mobile running out of petrol, but posted on W v E match. Currently digesting. Regds.

  15. Two tightheads is a real gamble. Francis is a strange decision and there are better players available. Otherwise not a bad squad. none of this matters really Englands tournament will be decided on injuries. If Mako, Billy and Maro stay heathy for the whole tournament, England will be threat to any team. If they don’t England will crash out early.

  16. This is a good, strong squad with plenty of experienced proven high level performers.
    Yes, there are some some marginal calls, and yes, some players can feel hard done by but generally Jones has got this selection spot on. Good players have been left out, some have been overlooked and were never in contention but that’s par for the course. You cannot pick everybody.
    2 TH’s is a gamble, as are 2 SH’s. Williams is very unlucky to miss out. Francis ahead of Te’o, Lozowski or Devoto is a marginal call. Cipriani missing out is disappointing but hardly a surprise. Heinz ahead of the other contenders took me by surprise. Ludlam coming through late is also surprise, albeit a nice one. McConnochie as the 6th back five player is one too many for me.

    1. I’d forgotten Lozowski. He can feel very hard done by. His versatility, to the extent of having played on the wing occasionally, surely frees up a spot in the forwards.

  17. Was wondering how the rankings points worked so played around with it a bit… Then laughed

    IF England beat Wales this weekend, there is a very real possibility that England go into the WC ranked No. 1

    This assumes we beat Ireland at Twickenham. And Ireland are in fact the only challengers. If Ireland lose to England but beat Wales home and away the go top. If Ireland beat England they are very likely to go top.

    If Wales win this weekend they will go top of the rankings even if NZ beat Aus.

    Ultimately it comes down to away games. If any of Eng, Ire, Wal can win their away game and home game they would go top. If everyone wins at home it stays as is.

    Really quite funny

    1. good spot if we win both we would move to 89.49 rankings points. Wales would drop to 87.44 ahead of their games with Ireland who would be on 88.00

  18. Thinking about the lack of numbers at 8 and tighthead, we could get through the group stage without exhausting anybody with some (slightly disrespectful) creative selections against the USA – Marler at TH and LCD doing a Ken Owens impression at 8? It’s might be too risky from the start but if things are going well they could come off the bench.

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