England's new head coach is not your shy and retiring type, far from it, instead he is a charismatic and forthright Australian that knows what he wants. He has made it very clear that this will be his International side that beats to the sound of his drum, and today he made his first significant step towards that by announcing the 33 individuals in the RBS 6 Nations and Elite Player Squad.
Eddie isn't one to give too much away therefore going into today's announcement few could have predicted with 100% certainty his 33 man squad. Of course we all expected some form of shake up, England's new head coach had been very clear that this is a new age in which old records count for nothing, and we are again at the beginning of another four-year cycle that will culminate in a Rugby World Cup.
Of all of the individuals that miss out the one that most will have not seen coming was the exclusion of Leicester's hooker and British and Irish Lion Tom Youngs. The hooker has been on fine form for his Aviva Premiership Club and although Dylan Hartley was rumoured to be in mind for the captaincy the general belief was that there would be room in the squad for the Tom. At Wednesday's announcement Eddie was adamant about not going into specifics regarding individual omissions instead saying;
"There's a lot of disappointed players, I'm not going to go through each one individually. I've spoken to each of the players, whether they remember the conversation I'm not sure. They know what they have got to do to get into the squad and there have been a number of close calls."
Those that were successful include 7 uncapped individuals; Josh Beaumont, Jack Clifford, Elliot Daly, Ollie Devoto, Sam Hill, Paul Hill, and Maro Itoje. Every single one is young and immensely talented and the role for England's head coach and his team will be to nurture their potential and turn them into International players as Eddie explained;
"We see these players growing into England players of the future and developing into a side who can be the best in the world. Our aim is to develop a squad where there is depth and competition in every position."
Within the 33-man squad there is experience and those with proven International ability, the likes of Ford, Launchbury, Care and Brown, and the exciting thing now is to see how they will blend with the talent coming in. This RBS 6 Nations there is the potential for so many to flourish and do what Jonathan Joseph did when he was given his chance against Wales last year however England's management must work quickly.
The squad will meet together for the first time on the 24th January and just 13 days later they will run out at Murrayfield to take on a much more settled Scotland side. Should we be worried? The answer is no, for this England squad will have an immense desire to deliver. There are those that took part in the Rugby World Cup and that will wish to show the world that they are much better than their group stage exit indicated and they are combined with fresh faces that have been waiting to prove themselves on the International stage.
In terms of the style of rugby that we should expect Eddie has been clear that the philosophy will stem from the players selected and looking at the type of forward, and indeed back, that he has selected it is clear this England side will look to play with pace, physicality, tempo and width.
England Rugby Senior Squad for RBS 6 Nations
Forwards: Josh Beaumont (Sale Sharks) Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers) Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter Chiefs) Jack Clifford (Harlequins) Jamie George (Saracens) Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints) James Haskell (Wasps) Paul Hill (Northampton Saints) Maro Itoje (Saracens) George Kruis (Saracens) Matt Kvesic (Gloucester Rugby) *injury replacement for Dave Ewers (Exeter Chiefs) Joe Launchbury (Wasps) Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints) Joe Marler (Harlequins) Matt Mullan (Wasps) Chris Robshaw (Harlequins) Henry Thomas (Bath Rugby) *injury replacement for Kieran Brookes (Northampton Saints) Billy Vunipola (Saracens) Mako Vunipola (Saracens)
Backs: Ashton (Saracens) Mike Brown (Harlequins) Danny Care (Harlequins) Elliot Daly (Wasps) Ollie Devoto (Bath Rugby) *injury replacement for Manu Tuilagi (Leicester Tigers) Owen Farrell (Saracens) George Ford (Bath Rugby) Alex Goode (Saracens) Sam Hill (Exeter Chiefs) *injury replacement for Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs) Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby) Jack Nowell (Exeter Chiefs) Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby) Marland Yarde (Harlequins) Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)Suggest a correction