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2019-06-20 19:11:31

BIG CALLS

The Harlequins pair, with 150 caps between them, look set to miss out on the tournament which will be held in Asia for the first time

Chris Robshaw and Danny Care look set to be high-profile omissions from England’s World Cup squad later this year after not been named in the first training group as preparation gears towards the tournament.

The Harlequins pair, with 150 caps between them, are not part of a 29-man group named by the Rugby Football Union.

getty

Harlequins pair Chris Robshaw and Danny Care, left, look set to miss out on England’s World Cup squad

However, four uncapped players have made the cut – Bath wing Ruaridh McConnochie, Gloucester’s Georgia-born prop Val Rapava Ruskin, Northampton flanker Lewis Ludlam and Harlequins back-row forward Alex Dombrandt.

Bristol-bound number eight Nathan Hughes also misses out, and whether another absentee – Northampton hooker Dylan Hartley – is called into camp at any point this summer remains to be seen.

Hartley, who led England to Six Nations titles in 2016 and 2017, has not played for six months due to a knee problem and it’s understood that he is still struggling with the issue.

getty

Northampton’s Dylan Hartley is still nursing a long-term knee problem

Saracens fly-half Owen Farrell is an overwhelming favourite to captain England at the World Cup in Japan.

Apart from Rapava Ruskin and Ludlam, players from clubs involved in the Gallagher Premiership semi-finals – Saracens, Exeter, Gloucester and Northampton – will not feature at this stage due to a mandatory five-week rest period.

The pair, plus a small number involved for an England XV against the Barbarians on June 2, will be managed to ensure post-season active rest periods are fulfilled in agreement with Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Players’ Association.

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Flanker Robshaw, 33, was England’s 2015 World Cup captain, but he last featured for his country a year ago, and 32-year-old scrum-half Care did not gain selection during last season’s Six Nations.

The squad will assemble at Pennyhill Park in Surrey on Sunday for five days, before a second camp from June 30-July 4 when further Gloucester and Northampton players could be added.

England boss Eddie Jones is due to name an official training squad on July 4, boosted by a potentially sizeable Saracens and Exeter contingent, before the first official World Cup camp begins three days later.

WHO ARE THE FOUR UNCAPPED PLAYERS NAMED IN ENGLAND'S FIRST WORLD CUP TRAINING SQUAD?

Bath wing Ruaridh McConnochie

Former England Sevens star McConnochie enjoyed an outstanding debut season with Bath last term

Gloucester prop Val Rapava Ruskin

Ruskin, 26, was born in Tbilisi, but moved to England at the age of two. He is a former Georgia Under-19 captain who played for Worcester before joining Gloucester.

Northampton flanker Lewis Ludlam

Born in Ipswich, the Saints man made his full Premiership debut in the first game of the 2017/2018 season against Saracens, scoring his first try for the club

Harlequins back-row forward Alex Dombrandt

Dombrandt, a colleague of Wales flanker Aaron Wainwright at college in Cardiff, has maintained impressive club form.

Jones said: “The first two England training camps are designed to improve individual players’ fundamentals to allow them to compete for a place in the Rugby World Cup squad.”

Saracens forwards Mako Vunipola and George Kruis, meanwhile, will attend the training camp for treatment.

England’s opening World Cup warm-up game is against Wales at Twickenham on August 11.


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