Jones names hoard of British & Irish Lions in World Cup squad
British & Irish Lions make up almost half of Eddie Jones’ England squad for the upcoming Rugby World Cup.
Owen Farrell, top points scorer during the 2017 Tour to New Zealand, will captain England in Japan.
He is joined in the backs by fellow tourists Ben Youngs, Jonathan Joseph, Anthony Watson, Elliot Daly and Jack Nowell with Jones opting for a mixture of youth and experience in his final selection.
The England head coach has also named a bevy of British & Irish Lions among his forwards as Dan Cole prepares for this third World Cup with the Red Rose.
He is joined in the front row by Jamie George, Joe Marler, Mako Vunipola and Kyle Sinckler with Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes and George Kruis adding some extra firepower behind them.
Jones will have 14 members of Warren Gatland’s 2017 squad with him when he touches down in Japan and has taken the decision to announce his squad early in order get preparations underway as early as possible.
“Today is another step in the progress towards the Rugby World Cup,” said Jones.
“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.”
England have three matches against Wales (17 August), Ireland (24 August) and Italy (6 September) before they get their campaign underway against Tonga on 22 September.
Jones added: “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.”
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) **
* Number of Rugby World Cup tournaments played