SIX Exeter Chiefs players have been named in England’s 35-man squad for their opening Six Nations match against Ireland on February 2.
Henry Slade, Jack Nowell, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ben Moon and Harry Williams are joined in the squad by Ollie Devoto.
Former Bath back Devoto has not played for England since 2016 but he is one of a number of surprise selections in Eddie Jones’ squad.
There is also a recall for Harlequins Jack Clifford and former Bristol player Ellis Genge, while the uncapped Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby), Dan Robson (Wasps), Jack Singleton (Worcester Warriors) and Ben Earl (Saracens) are also named in the squad.
Winger Thorley, 22, has made 39 career appearances for his club and was part of England’s U20 team that won the World Rugby Under-20 Championship in 2016.
Co-captain Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints) is not included in the initial squad due to a knee injury so Owen Farrell (Saracens) will skipper the side in his absence.
Joe Cokanasiga is the only Bath player in the training party that will head for a camp in Portugal, with Jonathan Joseph, Anthony Watson and Sam Underhill all injured.
“We are very happy with the squad and have a number of players who have come back from long-term injury,” said Jones.
“We are looking forward to getting across to Portugal and having a good 10-day preparation for the Ireland game.
He added: “The first thing when we get together as a squad is to get our cohesion back. The players have been playing for their clubs with different styles and different playing philosophies, so it’s about getting them thinking about playing the England way. The second thing is to get our togetherness stronger to work as hard as we can to make sure we are well connected on and off the field so Portugal is an important camp for us.”
England squad for Ireland Test
Forwards: Jack Clifford (Harlequins), Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs), Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Ben Earl (Saracens) *, Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers), Jamie George (Saracens), Nathan Hughes (Wasps), Maro Itoje (Saracens), George Kruis (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Ben Moon (Exeter Chiefs), Brad Shields (Wasps), Kyle Sinckler (Harlequins), Jack Singleton (Worcester Warriors) *, Billy Vunipola (Saracens), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs), Mark Wilson (Newcastle Falcons)
Backs: Chris Ashton (Sale Sharks), Mike Brown (Harlequins), Joe Cokanasiga (Bath Rugby), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Ollie Devoto (Exeter Chiefs), Owen Farrell (Saracens) captain, George Ford (Leicester Tigers), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs), Dan Robson (Wasps) *, Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Ben Te’o (Worcester Warriors), Ollie Thorley (Gloucester Rugby) *, Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)