LONDON (Reuters) – England coach Eddie Jones left experienced centre Ben Te’o out of his 31-man World Cup squad on Monday and included uncapped winger Ruaridh McConnochie.
Jones opted for only two scrumhalves, the experienced Ben Youngs and rookie Willi Heinz, for the tournament in Japan starting next month.
Flyhalf Owen Farrell was named as captain and McConnochie is the only uncapped player in the squad.
Eight players named were from Premiership champions Saracens including lock Maro Itoje, number eight Billy Vunipola and prop Mako Vunipola.
Flanker Lewis Ludlam and hooker Jack Singleton, who won their first caps alongside Heinz in England’s win over Wales in a warm-up match on Sunday, also made the cut.
But there was no place for Te’o, who was excluded from the final week of an England training camp after being involved in an altercation with team mate Mike Brown.
Although teams have until Sept. 8 to submit their squads to World Rugby, Jones decided to name his early.
“We have taken the decision to go early because of what we learned from previous campaigns,” Jones said in a statement.
“We want the squad to know early and now we can get on and be the best prepared England side there has ever been, ready to win the World Cup.
“A lot of good players have missed out, we feel for them, I feel for them personally. The World Cup is an incredible tournament where opportunities can present themselves and all those players who have missed out have been told they have to be ready.”
England play three more warm-up matches — away to Wales and home to Ireland and Italy — before heading to Japan, where they kick off their campaign against Tonga in Pool C on Sept. 22.
Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers, 86 caps) **
Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs, 12 caps)
Tom Curry (Sale Sharks, 11 caps)
Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers, 10 caps)
Jamie George (Saracens, 37 caps) *
Maro Itoje (Saracens, 27 caps)
George Kruis (Saracens, 32 caps) *
Joe Launchbury (Wasps, 59 caps) *
Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints, 72 caps) **
Lewis Ludlam (Northampton Saints, 1 cap)
Joe Marler (Harlequins, 58 caps) *
Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins, 22 caps)
Jack Singleton (Saracens, 1 cap)
Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby, 9 caps)
Billy Vunipola (Saracens, 42 caps) *
Mako Vunipola (Saracens, 53 caps) *
Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons / Sale Sharks, 13 caps)
Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby, 5 caps)
Elliot Daly (Saracens, 31 caps)
Owen Farrell (Saracens, 70 caps) *
George Ford (Leicester Tigers, 56 caps) *
Piers Francis (Northampton Saints, 5 caps)
Willi Heinz (Gloucester Rugby, 1 cap)
Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby, 41 caps) *
Jonny May (Leicester Tigers, 45 caps) *
Ruaridh McConnochie (Bath Rugby, uncapped)
Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs, 33 caps) *
Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs, 22 caps) *
Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers, 33 caps) *
Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby, 34 caps) *
Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers, 86 caps) **
* number of Rugby World Cup tournaments played
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ed Osmond)