England Rugby World Cup squad: Ben Te’o left out with Piers Francis, Lewis Ludlam and Ruaridh McConnochie named

Ben Te’o has been left out of England’s Rugby World Cup squad, with Eddie Jones selecting Northampton Saints centre Piers Francis instead.

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Jones has also dropped Exeter tighthead prop Harry Williams with Jones deciding to trust Kyle Sinckler and Dan Cole to share the workload in Japan.

Uncapped Bath back Ruaridh McConnochie has forced his way into the 31-man squad, while scrum-half Willi Heinz, flanker Lewis Ludlam and hooker Jack Singleton are all included after making their international debuts in Sunday’s 33-19 victory on Sunday.

The decision to drop Te’o comes after the former Worcester centre was involved in an altercation with Mike Brown during the warm-weather training camp in Treviso, with the Harlequins full-back also missing out, but it remains a surprise given how highly-rated Te’o has been during Jones’ reign.

It means that Jones will take 17 forwards and 14 backs to Japan – with six players included to cover the back-three alone. Uncapped McConnochie was due to make his debut in Sunday’s Test against Wales but was forced to withdraw with a hip injury. But Jones has named the former Sevens international and plans to use him this weekend in the return fixture in Cardiff.

Joining McConnochie is Jack Nowell, who has proven his fitness enough to justify his place following ankle surgery after the Premiership final. Elliot Daly, Joe Cokanasiga, Anthony Watson and Jonny May make up the other options.

Jones names two scrum-halves in Ben Youngs and Heinz, with Saracens’ Ben Spencer omitted after being dropped last week, and captain Owen Farrell joins George Ford as fly-half options.

Henry Slade will act as emergency cover at 10, and he is joined in the centre contingent by Francis, Jonathan Joseph and Manu Tuilagi, who returns to the World Cup fold for the first time in eight years after missing out on 2015. However, both Daly and Nowell are capable of filling in at outside centre if needed.

With Williams omitted, Jones will only take five props, with Mako Vunipola fit to feature along with fellow looseheads Joe Marler and Ellis Genge, as Cole and Sinckler fill the tighthead allocation.

There are four locks included in Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Joe Launchbury and Courtney Lawes, meaning that Bath’s Charlie Ewels misses out despite starting against Wales yesterday. 

Making up the squad are five back-row players in Ludlam, Mark Wilson, Sam Underhill, Tom Curry and Billy Vunipola.

England 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) **

* denotes World Cup tournaments played


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