England Rugby World Cup Squad Announced
The 33-man England squad for the Rugby World Cup in France has been announced by head coach Steve Borthwick. Notable absentees from the squad include Henry Slade and Alex Dombrandt. However, Joe Marchant has been included in the squad. Slade, who has played in the past two World Cups for England, and Dombrandt have not made the cut this time. Saracens hooker Theo Dan, who made his debut in the recent warm-up match against Wales, has been selected for the tournament. England will be led by Owen Farrell, with their first match against Argentina taking place in Marseille on 9 September.
The squad includes a mix of experienced and young players. In the forwards, notable players selected are Ollie Chessum, Dan Cole, Tom Curry, Theo Dan, Ben Earl, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, Joe Marler, George Martin, David Ribbans, Bevan Rodd, Kyle Sinckler, Will Stuart, Billy Vunipola, Jack Walker, and Jack Willis. The backs include Henry Arundell, Danny Care, Elliot Daly, Owen Farrell, George Ford, Ollie Lawrence, Max Malins, Joe Marchant, Marcus Smith, Freddie Steward, Manu Tuilagi, Jack van Poortvliet, Anthony Watson, and Ben Youngs.
Borthwick acknowledged the tough selection process, stating that there were many difficult decisions to make given the quality of the wider training squad. He mentioned that some very good players had missed out due to the high level of competition during the preparation period. He also highlighted the challenging test matches England faced in August, including the disappointing defeat against Wales. Borthwick emphasized the importance of preparation for their opening Rugby World Cup pool game against Argentina, who are currently in good form. England will also face Japan, Chile, and Samoa in the pool stage.
In announcing the squad over a month before the tournament begins, Borthwick aimed to provide clarity and certainty to the group. He believes that this early announcement allows the players enough time to settle and develop as a squad. England, who were runners-up in the 2019 final against South Africa, will be hoping to perform well in France and go one step further in the tournament.