Five Bath players have been called up to England’s Elite Player Squad ahead of the 2016 RBS 6 Nations campaign. Ollie Devoto and Henry Thomas join Bath Rugby teammates George Ford, Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson in Eddie Jones’ 33 man squad, which will meet up at Pennyhill Park on Sunday 24th January to prepare for their opening match against Scotland in Edinburgh on Saturday 6th February.
Devoto is one of a number of uncapped players Jones has promoted to the England senior setup. Josh Beaumont (Sale Sharks), Jack Clifford (Harlequins), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs), Paul Hill (Northampton Saints), and Maro Itoje (Saracens) are all also included.
There are call ups for Chris Ashton (Saracens), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints) and Marland Yarde (Harlequins) who missed selection for England’s Rugby World Cup squad earlier this season. Gloucester Rugby back row forward Matt Kvesic and Exeter Chiefs hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie are also named.
Leicester Tigers centre Manu Tuilagi is included in the Elite Player Squad having last played for England in June 2014.
England Head Coach Eddie Jones said: “We have selected a squad of players who we think can go to Murrayfield and win. This is our number one priority, to start with a win, so we have picked a squad which is a mix of experience and potential.
“The long-term strategy for England is to develop a side who can be the most dominant team in world rugby, so we have chosen a lot of new players on the growth we see in them. We see these players growing into England players of the future and developing into a side who can be the best in the world. Our aim is to develop a squad where there is depth and competition in every position.
“I have spoken to some of the players who have not been selected. Naturally they will be disappointed and that is how it should be. They know what they need to do to get back into this squad. The door is not shut for anyone. There is no such thing as a shut door because of injuries and loss of form. There will always be opportunities to anyone playing consistently well in the Premiership and Europe.
“We will be without Manu Tuilagi for the Scotland game but we will continue to work with Leicester Tigers and Manu and see where he is as the Six Nations progresses. With big European weekends ahead there may be further changes once we assess the fitness of the players.
“I am really excited about working with England and together with Steve and Paul we hope to build a team that will reflect the level of talent that exists within the English game.”
England Senior squad for RBS 6 Nations and Elite Player Squad
Josh Beaumont (Sale Sharks)
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers)
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs)
Jack Clifford (Harlequins)
Jamie George (Saracens)
Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints)
James Haskell (Wasps)
Paul Hill (Northampton Saints)
Maro Itoje (Saracens)
George Kruis (Saracens)
Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby) *injury replacement for Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs)
Joe Launchbury (Wasps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints)
Joe Marler (Harlequins)
Matt Mullan (Wasps)
Chris Robshaw (Harlequins)
Henry Thomas (Bath Rugby) *injury replacement for Kieran Brookes (Northampton Saints)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens)
Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
Chris Ashton (Saracens)
Mike Brown (Harlequins)
Danny Care (Harlequins)
Elliot Daly (Wasps)
Ollie Devoto (Bath Rugby) *injury replacement for Manu Tuilagi(Leicester Tigers)
Owen Farrell (Saracens)
George Ford (Bath Rugby)
Alex Goode (Saracens)
Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs) *injury replacement for Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs)
Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs)
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)
Marland Yarde (Harlequins)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)