London: Eddie Jones has included six uncapped players, four of them 20 or 21, in a 36-man England squad to prepare for the Six Nations championship and said on Tuesday that Owen Farrell, out for two months through injury, would captain the team.
Orlando Bailey (20), Alfie Barbeary (21), Ollie Chessum (21), Tommy Freeman (20), Ollie Hassell-Collins (23) and Luke Northmore (24) are the six new faces, while winger Jack Nowell also returns for the first time since the 2019 World Cup.
There was no recall, though, for in-form flyhalf George Ford - Bath’s Bailey being preferred to back up probable first choice Marcus Smith - while centre Manu Tuilagi also misses out after suffering a setback to his recovery from a hamstring injury.
Farrell has not played since injuring an ankle on England duty in November, with Courtney Lawes taking over the captaincy, and is expected to return to club action for Saracens this weekend.
Although his England role looks increasingly likely to be at inside centre, Jones showed faith by inking him in as his on-pitch leader.
“Owen is captain because he has the respect of the team, he’s a winner and he drives the competitive spirit of the team, Jones told a news conference.
Wales captain named
Meanwhile, Flyhalf Dan Biggar will captain a Wales squad at the 2022 Six Nations that includes three uncapped players and has a host of experienced names missing through injury as coach Wayne Pivacs side look to retain the title they won last year.
Hooker Dewi Lake has been called up for the first time, along with the back-rowers Jac Morgan and James Ratti.
“With the World Cup on the horizon next year, every match will be important for development on the road to France,” Pivac said in a Welsh Rugby media release on Tuesday.