LONDON • England coach Eddie Jones left experienced centre Ben Te'o out of his 31-man Rugby World Cup squad yesterday and included only one uncapped player, the winger Ruaridh McConnochie.
The Australian also opted for only two scrum halves, the experienced Ben Youngs and rookie Willi Heinz, for the tournament in Japan, which starts on Sept 20. Fly half Owen Farrell was named captain.
Expected names including lock Maro Itoje, No. 8 Billy Vunipola and prop Mako Vunipola, all made the cut, as did flanker Lewis Ludlam and hooker Jack Singleton, who won their first caps alongside Heinz in the 33-19 win over Wales in a Test match on Sunday.
But there was no place for Te'o, who was replaced by Piers Francis. He had been excluded from training in the lead-up to the Wales game after being involved in an altercation last month with team-mate Mike Brown, who also missed out.
Although teams have until Sept 8 to submit their squads, Jones decided to name his early.
"We have taken the decision to go early because of what we learnt from previous campaigns," he 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 games, at Wales and home to Ireland and Italy, before they kick off their World Cup campaign against Tonga in Pool C on Sept 22.