England: Marcus Smith left out of squad as George Ford retained with Six Nations focus shifting to France

Marcus Smith and George Ford for England Credit: Alamy
Marcus Smith and George Ford for England Credit: Alamy

England have left Marcus Smith out of their 26-player squad for a three-day training camp in Brighton, with George Ford retained alongside Owen Farrell.

The Red Rose squad met up on Tuesday and will train at Brighton College as they look to build on their recent 20-10 triumph against Wales in Cardiff.

Smith will return to his Premiership club side Harlequins in a decision that will dominate the headlines.

His opportunities have been limited thus far in the 2023 Six Nations as Farrell has started England’s last two matches at fly-half.

Max Malins unable to train

In other news from the squad, Max Malins (ankle) is unavailable to train this week due to injury. He will join up with the squad though for rehab work.

Experienced Gloucester wing Jonny May has been called up to Steve Borthwick’s squad, while Manu Tuilagi will also train with the group this week.

England’s next game of the Six Nations will see them face France at Twickenham Stadium on Saturday, March 11 in what promises to be an epic clash.

“This week we move our training camp to Brighton, as we meet up again after last week’s win in Cardiff,” Borthwick said ahead of the three-day camp.

“The performance against Wales was pleasing in a number of important respects. It was good to see the hard work the squad have put in on the training field reflected in a deserved and hard-won victory.

“Reduced fallow week squad numbers, injuries and our wish for some players to have valuable game time minutes with their clubs, means that the squad gathered in Brighton has a slightly different feel to it. We are very pleased to welcome back Jonny May.

“The players and coaches alike are looking forward to another three days of focused training, before the full squad meets back up back at Pennyhill Park on Sunday, in anticipation of our continued preparations for the remainder of what is proving to be a magnificent Six Nations tournament.”

Several U20 players invited

England also confirmed that a number of their U20s players will also take part in training session this week, which is an exciting opportunity for them.

Borthwick’s troops are currently sitting in third place on the Six Nations table on 10 points, level with Scotland and France, with Ireland out in front.

England squad during fallow week

Forwards: Ollie Chessum, Dan Cole, Ben Curry, Alex Dombrandt, Ben Earl, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, David Ribbans, Kyle Sinckler, Mako Vunipola, Jack Walker, Jack Willis

Backs: Henry Arundell, Owen Farrell, Tommy Freeman, George Ford, Ollie Lawrence, Jonny May, Alex Mitchell, Henry Slade, Freddie Steward, Jack van Poortvliet, Anthony Watson

READ MORE: Six Nations: 2024 fixtures confirmed as Ireland and France clash in Championship opener

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