Published: Fri, October 19, 2018
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Manu included in England training squad

Manu included in England training squad

Owen Farrell and Dylan Hartley have been named as co-captains for the four Tests, as England step up their preparations for next year's Rugby World Cup in Japan, while Joe Cokanasiga, Nathan Earle, Ted Hill, Zach Mercer, Michael Rhodes, Nick Schonert and Elliott Stooke could all make their England debuts.

There were also recalls for Ben Morgan, who returns to the Test set-up for the first time since 2015, and Chris Ashton, who last played for England in 2014.

But the former Australia and Japan coach tried to remain positive ahead of a gruelling series that starts with a match against the Springboks on 3 November.

Exeter backrow Don Armand, hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie, Bath lock Dave Attwood and Saracens full-back Alex Goode are all also absent, despite eye-catching Premiership form.

Exeter Chiefs props Ben Moon, who is one of eight uncapped players to be selected, and Alec Hepburn have been called up to replace Mako Vunipola, who was injured alongside brother Billy in Saracens' Champions Cup win away to Glasgow on Sunday.

Despite being England's starting No 10 in their most recent game against South Africa in June and producing an excellent opening to the season at his new club, Jones left him out of an initial training squad and the Australian stuck with his decision on Thursday.

"We can only control what we can control and injuries have happened", Jones said.

"We have taken a slightly different approach this year".

"We love Twickenham. The players feel the support and we can't wait to get out there and play in front of 82,000 against South Africa".

For the first time in Jones' reign, Dylan Hartley must share the leadership duties with Farrell after the pair were named co-captains.

England's loosehead prop resources have been decimated by Mako Vunipola's absence due to a calf issue and the global retirement of Joe Marler, leaving Alex Hepburn and Ben Moon as the only recognised options in the position.

Tigers centre Tuilagi is joined by George Ford, Jonny May and Ben Youngs in the selection made by England head coach Eddie Jones.

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