England have announced their 33-man squad for this year’s Rugby Union World Cup as the build up to the tournament in France continues.
Henry Slade is the big omission from the party, with the Exeter centre joining Harlequins’ Alex Dombrandt on missing out on Steve Borthwick’s squad.
On the other side of the coin, there is delight for Saracens hooker Theo Dan and young full-back Henry Arundell, who have both made the final cut.
|What||Rugby Union World Cup|
|When||Friday 8th September to Saturday 28th October 2023|
|How to watch||ITV|
|Odds||New Zealand 13/5, France 11/4, South Africa 9/2, Ireland 5/1, Australia|
As one of three centres with over 50 caps, Slade was the unlucky one to miss out on a place in the squad, with Manu Tuilagi, Elliot Daly and Ollie Lawrence picked ahead of him.
At the age of 30, the Exeter Chiefs star may not have another chance to play in the sport’s showpiece event.
In contrast, Dombrandt does have more time on his side, with the number eight currently 26 and he will set his sights on making it to Australia in 2027.
After struggling to make an impact in the warm-up game with Wales, back-row Tom Pearson, winger Joe Cokanasiga and hooker Jamie Blamire have also been left out.
On his squad decision, coach Borthwick admitted: "There have been a number of very difficult selection decisions to make, given the quality of our wider training squad.
"Some very good players have missed out on selection such has been the competition for places over the last eight weeks and more of preparation.
The England boss went on to add: "We believe that announcing the squad a little earlier than otherwise might have been the case, brings a clarity and certainty to the group, allowing the players as much time as possible to settle and develop as a squad."
Whilst one Henry misses out, another gets his chance to go to the World Cup for the first time.
Henry Arundell is a player with a big future ahead of him and, at the age of just 20, he is the youngest person in England’s World Cup squad.
After coming through the ranks at London Irish, the full-back joined Racing 92 this summer and has seven international appearances to his name already.
Arundell didn’t feature in the 20-9 defeat to Wales last weekend, but Joe Marchant did and a good performance from the centre has earned him a place in the 33-man squad.
Theo Dan made his England debut against the Welsh - who are 33/1 to win the tournament - and he did enough to persuade Borthwick that he deserved a place on the plane.
The group – which includes 16 players who have never been at a World Cup – have three more matches before the tournament begins on 8th September.
Borthwick’s men play host to Wales on 12th August, before travelling to Ireland on 19th August and then they entertain Fiji on 26th August.
England will be in Pool D at the World Cup, where they face Japan, Argentina, Samoa and Chile – with the opening game against the Pumas scheduled for 9th September.