Steve Borthwick has announced his first 36 man squad as England head coach in preparation for the 2023 Six Nations, which kicks off on February 4.
There are 14 players included from London-based clubs with eight from Saracens, five from Harlequins and one from London Irish.
It’s no surprise to see the current Gallagher Premiership leaders making up a large proportion of the side in both the forwards and backs.
Saracens’ Owen Farrell will captain the side following his disciplinary issues and he will be joined by club teammates Max Malins and Elliot Daly in the backline.
Utility back Daly fell out of favour with Eddie Jones towards the end of his stint as England coach but will likely fit well into the 23 jersey to cover numerous positions off the bench.
On Daly, Borthwick said: “Experienced player, played multiple positions: 13, 11, 15, great left foot and kicking game, but when he gets his hands on the ball he has an ability to sniff out a gap then take that gap, take that space and find his way to the try line.”
The experienced Sarries trio of Jamie George, Mako Vunipola and Maro Itoje are in the pack alongside clubmates Nick Isiekwe and Ben Earl who have been recalled to the side.
Earl is the reigning Premiership player of the season and has impressed again in this year’s campaign with ball in hand and in defence as he leads the league in turnovers.
Two uncapped Quins players make Borthwick’s England squad in hooker Jack Walker and exciting winger Cadan Murley.
Murley has scored eight tries in 11 Gallagher Premiership matches this season and is second in the league for metres gained and clean breaks.
Borthwick praised his try-scoring prowess and great footwork which gives him the ability to beat players one on one.
With the 117 caps of experience left out in Jonny May and Jack Nowell, Murley will likely get his chance to start for England in the back three with Leicester’s Freddie Steward and Northampton’s Tommy Freeman.
He may be joined in the backs by clubmates Joe Marchant and Marcus Smith with the former able to cover numerous positions in similar fashion to Daly.
Smith returned from an ankle injury last weekend against Racing 92 and despite the loss he looked to be firing on all cylinders with an outrageous run full of dummies which set up Murley to score.
With Farrell chosen as captain it is unlikely Borthwick will start Smith at fly half unless he opts for the dual fly half set up at 10 and 12.
However, when Manu Tuilagi is fit he is a difficult player to leave out from the centres.
The last Harlequins player in Borthwick’s England squad is number eight Alex Dombrandt who will bring both hard running and silky skills to the pack.
Only one Exiles player has made Borthwick’s squad in Ollie Hassell Collins, who will look to earn his first cap after a stellar set of games in the Premiership.
He has racked up eight tries and beat 36 defenders, the second most in the league.
The tall, powerful winger has also been praised for his defensive abilities and security under the high ball so could offer a different option to the smaller more explosive Murley.
You can view England’s full 36 man squad here.
England will open their 2023 Six Nations campaign against Scotland on February 4 against Scotland.
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