Each new squad announced by a head coach brings joy to some corners of the country, and some misery for others. This squad is no different. The latest England men’s rugby squad is out, and supremo Eddie Jones has made some big decisions.
There are recalls for discarded stars and first-time call-ups for young talent yet this comes at the cost of other names missing out. Past by, and while the good news goes with the bad, Last Word on Rugby examines who are the winners and losers from Jones’s latest train-on squad.
Eddie Jones has named his squad for the men's upcoming training camp 👇@O2 | #WearTheRose
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) May 17, 2022
2022 July England men’s rugby squad winners
The young fullback has been creating quite the highlights reel in recent weeks. Judging from this announcement, the England coach has been a fan too. He recently likened the tyro to a young Matt Giteau which is high praise indeed.
Furthermore, others have seen similarities with Jason Robinson. While these comparisons may yet be premature since he is yet to produce any of these magic moments on the international stage, he certainly has the potential to be a star of the future if that try against Toulon is anything to go by.
In the men's squad for the first time, @henry_arundell 🏃♂️💨 pic.twitter.com/lF2vb3odVp
— England Rugby (@EnglandRugby) May 17, 2022
Jones will want to see how the teenager can adapt to the higher intensity and reduced thinking time that comes with international rugby and there is every chance that he remains uncapped come the start of next season but the experience of being in an international environment will give Arundell a greater understanding on how to develop his game while Eddie continues to bring together his plan for the World Cup next year.
Jones has spoken in the past about trying to find that bolter for World Cups in a similar mould to Milner-Skudder in 2015 and if Arundell can make the most of this opportunity he could be that player.
Fresh from an early return from injury the good news for the elder Vunipola brother continues as he is named in an England squad for the first time since the Lions tour last year. This season. Mako Vunipola (main photo) has been at the forefront of Saracens’ success. He has even captained the side in the absence of Owen Farrell. Mako is an experienced international but lost his place in the squad to Genge, Marler and Rodd. However, after signing a new contract with Saracens last year, it is clear that the prop still has international ambitions.
In an area of considerable depth, Mako stands out with his ability to distribute as well as his carrying. It is these distribution skills that Jones will want to utilise to aid in his quest to provide England with a sharper attacking game moving forward from a poor Six Nations on that front.
Three @Saracens men named in the latest @EnglandRugby training squad. Good luck @Mako_Vunipola @maroitoje & @owen_faz.
Eddie noted some senior players are being rested “as we get to a crucial part of the season. These players will still be in contention for the Australia tour." https://t.co/0HZ56IANSJ pic.twitter.com/mOfRqePfmh
— #RugbySaracens (@RugbySaracens) May 17, 2022
The Saracens prop is a player Eddie knows a lot about as he was a mainstay of the England side from as soon as Jones took over until a change of heart from the head coach last year and so is very much a known quantity coming into a camp full of fresh faces. Off the back of the salary-cap scandal, Jones chose to reduce the Saracens’ influence in his leadership group, but could recent performances mean that is being reversed? Or does Vunipola’s inclusion simply represent that the door on further England caps is not as closed as many thought?
From individuals, a recognition of their combined collective from certain clubs is wholly relevant in this examination. Commonly from the leading sides, one group to pinpoint might be of surprise if vlued by the Premiership standings alone.
Bath Rugby ‘well represented’ in England men’s rugby squad
It has been a dismal season for the west-country outfit. However, their considerable representation in the latest training squad will please all those associated with the club. The inclusion of Underhill and a fit-again Watson were never in doubt. To be the joint most represented club in the squad though is an impressive achievement. It looks as though Bailey has cemented his place behind Smith and Farrell. Meanwhile, the lack of grunt in England’s backline in recent matches may be the reasoning for a further examination of Cockinasiga.
🌹 Six Bath Rugby players have been included in a 36-player England squad for a short training camp.
Go well lads!
— Bath Rugby (@BathRugby) May 17, 2022
The inclusion of Ewels though is a surprising choice from Jones though. The Six Nations saw him get the quickest red card in Six Nations’ history. His performances domestically have also failed to convince that he is deserving of a spot ahead of Saracens’ lock Nick Isiekwe, who has failed to make the cut. Jones though knows what it takes to win in Australia so it will be interesting to how this selection decision plays out over the next few months.
Finally, Will Stuart continues to look like the favourite backup to Sinckler. Hayes is constantly improving in a winning Tigers pack though, so he may find he has it all to do if he wants to stay in that position.
England men’s rugby losers
Someone whose form looked destined to take him down under is running out of time to make the cut. Opensides Underhill, Ludlam, Willis, Pearson and Curry have been included but not the dynamic Saracen. The fact that there is only one specialist number 8 in the squad means Earl’s versatility could have added more depth in that area but he is not someone the coaches feel they want to see in England for whatever reason.
The depth at seven is impressive right now but could a decision like this add fuel to Earl’s ambitions to try his hand in the Super League and leave Union behind?
He is not the only Saracens back-row forward who will be disappointed either. Billy Vunipola will have been dreaming of a recall after rediscovering some of his best form in recent weeks but unlike his brother, the door remains closed on the hulking number 8.
Jack Van Poortvliet’s inclusion in the squad comes at the expense of his clubmate Youngs. The 100-cap veteran will be desperate to continue his England career as he chases down Rocky Clarke’s record number of England appearances.
With three young scrum-halves selected, one will likely be dropped for the more experienced Youngs once the touring party for Australia is confirmed. Should all three impress in the coming days, however, Youngs could quickly find his England journey coming to an end. He has the chance to show Jones what he can do in big games as Leicester Tigers have secured their place in the semi-finals of the Gallagher Premiership and will be expecting to make it to the showpiece at Twickenham. This may be part of the reason that Youngs has missed out.
And remember, a large focus of this camp is preparation for the Barbarians game that happens the day after the domestic final. It is one game Youngs will want to be unavailable for.
We’ll be back in action at Twickenham as we take on @EnglandRugby 🏴 in June 👌
Who would you select if you had the choice? Let us know below 👇 #Baabaas #rugby pic.twitter.com/Cnk1flMYgq
— Barbarian FC (@Barbarian_FC) February 10, 2022
Gloucester Rugby losing representation in England men’s rugby squad
They may have beaten their arch-rivals with ease recently on the pitch but while their west-country rivals have six representatives training with the national side in a few days, the cherry and whites will have no representation at the camp.
Skivington is understandably upset as he feels a number of the Gloucester players deserve more attention from the England coaches. The back row of Reid, Ludlow and Ackermann all can feel aggrieved that they failed to make the cut, especially the Gloucester captain. Furthermore, Jonny May has made his way back to full fitness and has not earned a spot despite other players making it with a similar level of recent match fitness. Atkinson and Thorley will others wondering what more they can do to show selectors with their team still in the hunt for the playoffs while Bath will be happy to avoid finishing bottom at this stage.
Besides any predicted or actual England men’s rugby squad list, the choice of names is relative. In order of who you or they should have accepted, and those that are questionable. So may we ask, which players do you feel deserve to be in the squad and who is lucky to be there?
“Main photo credit”