Shock omissions from England’s World Cup squad


England’s coach, Steve Borthwick, left center Henry Slade out of England’s team for the Rugby World Cup tournament in France on Monday.

Slade was part of the team that played in the final against South Africa four years ago. He played in 30 of the last 37 games for the team this year.

Joe Marchant will now take his place. Marchant impressed the coach despite Saturday’s disappointing 29-9 defeat to Wales.

Borthwick – like many other coaches – had to make difficult decisions about the team he was going to send to the spectacle.

“Good players didn’t make the World Cup team after eight weeks of competition and preparation,” said Borthwick.

Borthwick also defended the decision to announce his team a little earlier – with practice matches against Wales, Ireland and Fiji still to be played before the deadline later this month.

“We believe that the earlier disclosure of the group will bring clarity and certainty. This will give the players as much time as possible to unite and develop as a team.”

The omission of Alex Dombrandt means that Billy Vunipola is the only specialist eighth man sent to France.

Vunipola was selected even though he has not played since April due to two knee operations and he missed the entire Six Nations series due to a lack of playing level.

Lewis Ludlam, Ben Earl and Tom Curry are also on their way to France to fill the number eight position, along with a versatile group of five forwards that includes Leicester duo Ollie Chessum and George Martin.

Other big names who are also staying at home this year are the wings Jonny May and Joe Cokanasiga. Both also played for England in the World Cup final four years ago.

England will face Argentina, Japan, Samoa and Chile in Group D.

This is what the English team for the World Cup tournament looks like:

Front row:

Subs: Dan Cole (Leicester), Ellis Genge (Bristol), Joe Marler (Harlequins), Bevan Rodd (Sale), Kyle Sinckler (Bristol), Will Stuart (Bath)

Hookers: Theo Dan (Saracens), Jamie George (Saracens), Jack Walker (Harlequins)

Locks: Ollie Chessum (Leicester), Maro Itoje (Saracens), David Ribbans (Toulon/FRA)

Loose forwards: Tom Curry (Sale), Ben Earl (Saracens), Courtney Lawes (Northampton), Lewis Ludlam (Northampton), George Martin (Leicester), Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Jack Willis (Toulouse/FRA)

Back players:

Scrum-halves: Danny Care (Harlequins), Ben Youngs (Leicester), Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester)

Fly-half: Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Sale), Marcus Smith (Harlequins)

Wings: Max Malins (Bristol), Anthony Watson (no club), Elliot Daly (Saracens)

Centers: Ollie Lawrence (Bath), Joe Marchant (Stade Fran├žais/FRA), Manu Tuilagi (Sale)

Fullbacks: Henry Arundell (Racing 92/FRA), Freddie Steward (Leicester).