JAMES HASKELL has been omitted from England’s squad for next month’s autumn series after losing out to rising Exeter star Sam Simmonds.
Veteran Wasps flanker Haskell, who has 75 caps and toured New Zealand with the British and Irish Lions during the summer, has paid the price for a drop in form having started the season with a hand injury.
Alongside emerging England back-rows Sam Underhill and Tom Curry is Simmonds, who is present in an England squad for the first time after impressing for the Chiefs.
There are few surprises among the 34 players who will begin preparations for the Old Mutual Wealth Series opener against Argentina, which takes place on November 11, with Haskell emerging as the biggest casualty.
Marland Yarde of Harlequins is missing from the list of back-three players, losing out to Sale’s Denny Solomona, who is present despite being sent home from England’s August training camp for engaging in a late-night drinking session with Manu Tuilagi.
Head coach Eddie Jones has included two names described as ‘apprentice players’ in Bath back-row Zach Mercer and Quins fly-half Marcus Smith.
“Our first match against Argentina is a significant game for England,” said Jones.
“Everything we have been doing in our training camps so far this season has been geared around getting the detail right in our preparation on how we want to play and win against them next month.
“This will be the fourth time we have played against Argentina in the last 12 months and the last time we play them before 2019, so we want to make sure our record against them is 4-0.”
England squad - Backs: Mike Brown (Harlequins), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Jonny May (Leicester), Denny Solomona (Sale), Anthony Watson (Bath), Danny Care (Harlequins), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Leicester), Piers Francis (Northampton), Jonathan Joseph (Bath), Alex Lozowski (Saracens), Henry Slade (Exeter), Marcus Smith (Harlequins) *, Ben Youngs (Leicester).
Forwards: Tom Curry (Sale), Charlie Ewels (Bath), Nathan Hughes (Wasps), Nick Isiekwe (Saracens), Maro Itoje (Saracens), George Kruis (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton), Zach Mercer (Bath) *, Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Sam Simmonds (Exeter), Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby), Dan Cole (Leicester), Tom Dunn (Bath Rugby), Ellis Genge (Leicester), Jamie George (Saracens), Dylan Hartley (Northampton), Matt Mullan (Wasps), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Harry Williams (Exeter).
* denotes apprentice players