Eddie Jones has included seven uncapped players in his England squad for the 2016 RBS Six Nations; the Australian’s first game in charge is against Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday 6th February.
Jones has made the decision to cut several players from the Stuart Lancaster regime including Tom Wood, Ben Morgan, Richard Wigglesworth, Geoff Parling, Rob Webber and Brad Barritt; signalling the start of a new era for England under their first ever foreign head coach.
Maro Itoje the impressive Saracens star earns his first senior call-up after an outstanding start to the season with the Aviva Premiership leaders and is set to be one of the key men in a new look England pack during the RBS Six Nations.
He is joined by flankers Jack Clifford and Matt Kvesic who will compete for the number seven jersey. Clifford and Kvesic are both seen as real ‘fetchers’ in the back-row and will bring much needed breakdown nous.
Josh Beaumont, son of former England skipper Bill Beaumont, also earns his first call-up after a series of powerful displays for the Sale Sharks. Injuries at tighthead prop have seen Northampton youngster Paul Hill get his chance.
Former captain Chris Robshaw retains his place in the squad but will only be considered at blindside flanker, which is seen as his more natural role. His leadership and experience is seen as an important asset for the Six Nations campaign, with so many inexperienced players in the squad.
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Exciting backs selected for Six Nations
In the backs there is no place for Danny Cipriani who once again misses out despite earning plaudits for his performances this season. Jones has selected just two recognised fly-halves with Owen Farrell and George Ford retaining their places.
Exciting young centres Elliot Daly, Sam Hill and Ollie Devoto have also been selected. Daly has been one of the Premiership’s best centres for the last 12 months and his call-up is fully deserved. His pace, handling and kicking ability will be a potent weapon for Jones.
Devoto was a surprise inclusion but is an exciting addition. The coaching team will be keen for a playmaker at 12 and Devoto has all the attributes to be a top class centre despite his lack of experience.
While Exeter centre Hill is often overshadowed by his teammate Henry Slade, he brings power and is an underrated distributor. All three of these players could make a real impact in the Six Nations.
Former Merits guest speaker Chris Ashton and Harlequins flyer Marland Yarde have earned recalls after impressive club displays. Ashton is arguably the most natural try-scorer in the country and will know be itching to prove his critics wrong. Yarde is powerful and balanced runner and brings a different dimension to the game than his fellow wingers.
This is certainly an exciting time for fans who will see this new look team in action at Twickenham for the first time when England face Ireland (Saturday 27th February). That is followed by a clash with arch-rivals Wales (Saturday 12th March).
These two huge matches could decide the destination of RBS Six Nations title.