Rugby: Willis named in England squad, no place for Simmonds brothers

Mitch Phillips
·3-min read
FILE PHOTO: Premiership Semi Final - Wasps v Bristol Bears
FILE PHOTO: Premiership Semi Final - Wasps v Bristol Bears

By Mitch Phillips

LONDON (Reuters) - Joe and Sam Simmonds have been left out of the England squad despite playing key roles in Exeter's European Cup and English Premiership triumphs this month, but Wasps duo Dan Robson and Jack Willis were included.

Coach Eddie Jones named a 36-man squad on Monday for Saturday's Six Nations decider in Italy and the Autumn Nations Cup games.

Flyhalf Joe Simmonds was man of the match in Exeter's Champions Cup victory over Racing 92 and had another perfect day with the boot in Saturday's Premiership final win over Wasps.

However, Jones has included uncapped Wasps flyhalf Jacob Umaga as backup to Owen Farrell, with George Ford absent injured.

Sam Simmonds was named European player of the year having topped the competition's try-scoring charts from number eight. Harlequins back-rower Alex Dombrandt also misses out.

Exeter lock Johnny Hill was included alongside several uncapped players, including Worcester's powerful centre Ollie Lawrence, Bristol's Max Malins, Gloucester's Ollie Thorley and Wasps turnover machine Willis, this season's players' player of the year.

"We were obviously disappointed with the postponement of the Barbarians game but we moved to plan B, had a highly competitive training session instead of the match and now we are fully focused on the Italy game and the goal of winning the Six Nations," Jones said.

To do that England will probably need a bonus-point win in Italy and to overcome a points deficit of 23 to Ireland, if the Irish win in France without a bonus point in Saturday's final game.

France and England have 13 points but with a hefty England win almost certain, they go into "super Saturday" - delayed by seven months - as title favourites.

England face Georgia, Ireland and Wales before a placing match at home to determine their final position in the competition introduced to replace the cancelled November internationals.

"With nine players out injured, it does create some opportunities for the younger guys to show what they can do," Jones added.

England squad:

Backs

Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 9 caps)

Owen Farrell (Saracens, 83 caps)

George Furbank (Northampton Saints, 2 caps)

Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, 13 caps)

Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 50 caps)

Ollie Lawrence (Worcester Warriors, uncapped)

Max Malins (Bristol Bears, uncapped)

Joe Marchant (Harlequins, 3 caps)

Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 56 caps)

Dan Robson (Wasps, 2 caps)

Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 29 caps)

Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped)

Jacob Umaga (Wasps, uncapped)

Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 43 caps)

Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 99 caps)

Forwards

Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 23 caps)

Tom Dunn (Bath Rugby, uncapped)

Ben Earl (Bristol Bears, 3 caps)

Charlie Ewels (Bath Rugby, 15 caps)

Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 18 caps)

Jamie George (Saracens, 49 caps)

Jonny Hill (Exeter Chiefs, uncapped)

Ted Hill (Worcester Warriors, 1 cap)

Maro Itoje (Saracens, 38 caps)

Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 65 caps)

Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 8 caps)

Beno Obano (Bath Rugby, uncapped)

David Ribbans (Northampton Saints, uncapped)

Jack Singleton (Gloucester Rugby, 3 caps)

Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 35 caps)

Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 3 caps)

Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 18 caps)

Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 51 caps)

Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 59 caps)

Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs, 18 caps)

Jack Willis (Wasps, uncapped)

(Reporting by Mitch Phillips, editing by Christian Radnedge and Ed Osmond)