The England squad is growing again in number: the players available to Steve Borthwick have become 41 who will gather starting from Sunday 2 July in Richmond for the start of the first full-ranked meeting given the RWC.
The group of Premiership finalists (Tom Curry, Elliot Daly, Ben Earl, Owen Farrell, George Ford, Jamie George, Jonny Hill, Maro Itoje, Max Malins, Bevan Rodd, and Manu Tuilagi) has completed their mandatory rest period. They will reach the rest of the internationals, as well as French champion Jack Willis.
Other novelties are represented by the call-up of Theo Dan, a 23-year-old hooker for Saracens, and Tom Willis, brother of Jack who played for the entire season in Bordeaux with a modest profit.
There is instead Luke Cowan-Dickie, whose shoulder injury will prevent him from playing in the World Cup. Ollie Chessum, Ollie Lawrence, Mako Vunipola, Billy Vunipola and Jack Walker, on the other hand, are not part of the group of 41 due to injuries, but will be considered for the final selection.
The most conspicuous absence from the group is that of Zach Mercer, number 8 of Montpellier about to return to England, precisely to participate in the RWC. Possibilities that the head coach does not seem inclined to give him.
Borthwick will choose the final 33-man squad on 7 August. Meanwhile, he has already decided to give the ranks of captain, once again, to Owen Farrell.
“I met Owen about ten days ago – Borthwick told the press conference – We spent two hours walking through the meadows outside Harpenden, talking about everything we have in mind for this team. Owen is a fantastic leader.”
Ellis Genge and Courtney Lawes were named vice-captains.
England, the 41 to prepare for the RWC
Jamie Blamire (Newcastle Falcons, 6 caps)
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 100 caps)
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 45 caps)
Theo Dan (Saracens, uncapped)
Alex Dombrandt (Harlequins, 14 caps)
Ben Earl (Saracens, 15 caps)
Ellis Genge (Bristol Bears, 48 caps)
Jamie George (Saracens, 77 caps)
Jonny Hill (Sale Sharks, 19 caps)
Maro Itoje (Saracens, 67 caps)
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 97 caps)
Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 19 caps)
Joe Marler (Harlequins, 79 caps)
George Martin (Leicester Tigers, 1 cap)
Tom Pearson (London Irish, uncapped)
Val Rapava-Ruskin (Gloucester Rugby, uncapped)
David Ribbans (Northampton Saints, 5 caps)
Bevan Rodd (Sale Sharks, 2 caps)
Kyle Sinckler (Bristol Bears, 61 caps)
Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 25 caps)
Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 29 caps)
Jack Willis (Toulouse, 10 caps)
Tom Willis (Bordeaux Begles, uncapped)
Henry Arundell (London Irish, 7 caps)
Danny Care (Harlequins, 87 caps)
Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 14 caps)
Elliot Daly (Saracens, 57 caps)
Owen Farrell (Saracens, 106 caps)
George Ford (Sale Sharks, 81 caps)
Max Malins (Saracens, 18 caps)
Joe Marchant (Harlequins, 15 caps)
Jonny May (Gloucester Rugby, 72 caps)
Cadan Murley (Harlequins, uncapped)
Guy Porter (Leicester Tigers, 4 caps)
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 56 caps)
Marcus Smith (Harlequins, 21 caps)
Freddie Steward (Leicester Tigers, 22 caps)
Manu Tuilagi (Sale Sharks, 51 caps)
Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester Tigers, 12 caps)
Anthony Watson (Leicester Tigers, 55 caps)
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 122 caps)