Vunipolas among five senior players dropped from England rugby squad

Billy Vunipola is one of five senior players axed from England's squad for the November internationals. AFP/Glyn Kirk

LONDON - England coach Eddie Jones axed five senior players, including the Vunipola brothers and occasional captain George Ford, from his first England squad of the autumn.

Jamie George and Elliot Daly are also missing from the 45-man training group that will gather in London for a three-day camp on Sunday.

Billy Vunipola and Ford were given the summer off rather than playing in the July Tests against the United States and Canada.

Mako Vunipola, Daly and George were involved in the recent British and Irish Lions tour to South Africa yet failed to win places in the squad that will begin preparations for matches against Tonga, Australia and South Africa in November.

Two years out from the World Cup, Jones' selection could represent a changing of the guard after a disappointing year.

England finished second bottom of the Six Nations, losing to Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

"We have left out some experienced players but we're really clear that the door isn't closed to them and we're looking forward to seeing them work hard to get back into contention," said Jones.

"We have five campaigns now until the 2023 World Cup so each one counts, and this is a chance for this 45 to impress the new coaching staff."

Nine of the 16 new caps awarded against the USA and Canada retain their place, including Marcus Smith, whose starring role in Harlequins' Premiership triumph in June earned him a late call-up to the Lions tour.

There are also eight uncapped players with Mark Atkinson, Jack Kenningham, Louis Lynagh, Gabriel Oghre, Raffi Quirke, Sam Riley, Bevan Rodd and Ollie Sleightholme hoping to make their England debut.

"This is an exciting squad made up of experienced players and young guys who did well in the summer and have earned their place again," Jones added.

Source
AFP

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