Stuart Lancaster has named an initial 26-man squad to travel to Paris for their RBS 6 Nations opener against France on Saturday.
The squad will be further trimmed to the match-day 23 tomorrow but early big-name omissions come in the form of previously regular starters Chris Ashton and Ben Youngs. Gloucester’s Jonny May and the as yet uncapped Jack Nowell and Anthony Watson will provide the pace, while in-form Danny Care and Lee Dickson are the no.9 choices. Saints centre Luther Burrell and Bath fly-half George Ford could also make their debuts.
Lancaster said: “We are excited about the players we are taking to Paris and what a great place to open our RBS 6 Nations campaign against a French team who will be massively motivated, especially after the last two games between us.
“Competition for places is intense and we have tough selection choices to make across the team. The young players have really impressed and based on their club form and what they have done in training with us they deserve their opportunity.
“Competition at scrum-half has been particularly tight and Danny Care’s form leading into the Six Nations has been excellent and he merits his inclusion. Ben Youngs misses out this time but he is a quality player and I am sure he will respond in the same way Danny did at the start of the year.
“We have been pleased with the form of Chris Ashton recently. However, Jack Nowell has made great progress on the right wing and has also delivered in big games for Exeter Chiefs and we feel it is the right time to look at another option in that position. Chris remains an important member of the squad and I am sure he will be working hard to regain that position during the course of the Six Nations.”
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
Joe Launchbury (London Wasps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Ben Morgan (Gloucester Rugby)
Matt Mullan (London Wasps)
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Henry Thomas (Sale Sharks)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
Tom Wood (Northampton Saints)
Tom Youngs (Leicester Tigers)
Brad Barritt (Saracens)
Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Luther Burrell (Northampton Saints)
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Lee Dickson (Northampton Saints)
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
George Ford (Bath Rugby)
Alex Goode (Saracens)
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)
Billy Twelvetrees (Gloucester Rugby)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)