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Home ยป Six Nations: Borthwick’s First England Matchday Squad Revealed

Six Nations: Borthwick’s First England Matchday Squad Revealed

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Manu Tuilagi has been dropped by Steve Borthwick as the head coach named a revamped side for England’s Guinness Six Nations opener against Scotland.

Tuilagi, a veteran of 50 caps and a regular choice for the Red Rose for much of the past decade, has not even been named in Borthwick’s first 23-man squad.

Joe Marchant takes the 31-year-old’s place in the England line-up, with Marcus Smith and Saracens’ Owen Farrell to resume their playmaking axis for Saturday’s Calcutta Cup clash at Twickenham.

Wing Ollie Hassell-Collins has been handed his first cap in a rejigged midfield following injuries to Elliot Daly, Henry Slade and Dan Kelly in the build-up to Saturday’s fixture.

Ben Curry will be awarded his first cap against major opposition following his debut in an underwhelming victory over the United States nearly two years ago.

Lewis Ludlam joins Curry as the other flanker, with Alex Dombrandt at number eight, while Jamie George starts at hooker after overcoming concussion sustained in Saracens’ defeat by Edinburgh on January 22.

Borthwick said: “There are few fixtures in the rugby calendar that excite both players and supporters alike more than the annual Six Nations meeting of the Auld Enemy as they battle for the honour of lifting the Calcutta Cup.

“Another packed Twickenham will witness the start of the next chapter of English rugby in one of the most keenly contested tournaments in the world. There is no doubt that this England team shares the supporters’ sense of eager anticipation.

“To a man, the players are determined to play with the commitment, fight and desire that is at the very heart of representing England, the sort of passion that our tremendous supporters rightly expect.

“The England team that will play this weekend against Scotland have great experienced players and it also has exciting young talent and new combinations that will compliment that experience.

“The players are determined to represent their country with the fight that our supporters deserve and expect.

“There are a lot of players who have been fighting for an England opportunity for a period of time and now they have got their opportunity.”

On Tuilagi’s omission, Borthwick added: “I am picking the team for this week and there are competition for places. There should be good players not in the 23 because we want depth in every position.”

No fewer than seven Saracens are included in the 23-strong group for the clash at Twickenham on Saturday (4.45pm).

England team: Steward (Leicester); Malins (Saracens), Marchant (Harlequins, 13 caps), Farrell (Saracens, capt), Hassell-Collins (London Irish); Smith (Harlequins), Van Poortvliet (Leicester); Genge (Bristol), George (Saracens), Sinckler (Bristol), Itoje (Saracens), Chessum (Leicester), Ludlam (Northampton), Curry (Sale), Dombrandt (Harlequins).

Replacements: Walker (Harlequins), M Vunipola (Saracens), Cole (Leicester), Isiekwe (Saracens), Earl (Saracens), Youngs (Leicester), Lawrence (Bath), Watson (Leicester).