Saturday 18 November 2017

Denny Solomona left out of England squad to face Argentina as Elliot Daly and Jonny May make rapid recoveries

Leicester Tigers' Jonny May runs in for a try during the Aviva Premiership match between Harlequins and Leicester Tigers at Twickenham Stoop on September 23, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Craig Mercer - CameraSport via Getty Images)
Leicester Tigers' Jonny May runs in for a try during the Aviva Premiership match between Harlequins and Leicester Tigers at Twickenham Stoop on September 23, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Craig Mercer - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Jack de Menezes

Denny Solomona’s return to the England squad has been short lived after the wing was sent back to Sale Sharks on Tuesday, with Eddie Jones leaving him out of his 26-man squad for this Saturday’s opening autumn international against Argentina.

Both Elliot Daly and Jonny May have completed rapid recoveries from injury to feature in the squad, meaning that there is no space for 24-year-old Solomona. The rugby league convert was brought back into the side for last week’s training camp in Portugal after being given a second chance by Jones follow his banishment from an August training camp, having been involved in a late-night drinking session with Leicester centre Manu Tuilagi.

Having initially feared that both Daly and May would miss this weekend’s clash with the Pumas, Jones will have been relieved to see Daly come through training at Pennyhill Park in Bagshot on Tuesday, although it is no guarantee that he will play at Twickenham.

Three players stand to be dropped from the squad to make up the match-day side, with the current set-up set to see one back-five forward, one inside back and one outside back cut on Thursday morning.

The 26-man party is one more player than was expected, and while Daly trained fully on Tuesday, May trained on his own to test out his injured hamstring, with Semesa Rokoduguni retained in the squad as cover for the Leicester Tigers flyer.

The inclusion of Daly and May gives them an extra day to prove their fitness, which could result in Bath wing-cum-full-back Anthony Watson rested should Jones feel that he deserves a break after the summer’s British and Irish Lions commitments. May, who has scored 10 tries in nine games this season, has flourished since moving to Leicester Tigers in the summer and would be able to link-up with half-back pairing Ben Youngs and George Ford, while Daly offers Jones vast versatility due to his ability to cover centre, wing, full-back and even fly-half if needed.

The other seven players to miss out on a place are Bath forwards Tom Dunn and Charlie Ewels, Exeter Chiefs back-row Sam Simmonds, Saracens lock Nick Isiekwe and Northampton Saints centre Piers Francis, while ‘apprentice player’ Zach Mercer is also left out and will return to Bath for this weekend’s Anglo-Welsh Cup fixtures.

The second-row is also a position where England are currently overloaded with a wealth of options, as Jones has retained Joe Launchbury, George Kruis, Courtney Lawes and Maro Itoje. Saracens forward Itoje is able to play at blindside flanker along with Lawes, but as Jones hinted last week that ex-captain Chris Robshaw will remain the starting No 6, one of the second-row contingent stands to miss out.

Tom Curry and Sam Underhill will battle for the openside flanker spot in James Haskell’s absence, with Jones seeking a ball-threatening No 7 who can disrupt opposition possession in the breakdown, while Nathan Hughes looks certain to feature at No 8, with Robshaw providing back-up after Simmonds was released back to the Chiefs.

Dylan Hartley, the England captain, is in a battle with Jamie George for the starting hooker spot, while Ellis Genge will compete with Mako Vunipola for the loosehead prop berth after the former impressed during Monday’s training session against Bristol on Monday. The other side of the front-row sees veteran Dan Cole joined by the inexperienced Harry Williams.

England squad

Backs:

Mike Brown (Harlequins), Elliot Daly (Wasps), Jonny May (Leicester Tigers), Semesa Rokoduguni (Bath Rugby), Anthony Watson (Bath Rugby)Danny Care (Harlequins), Owen Farrell (Saracens), George Ford (Leicester Tigers), Jonathan Joseph (Bath Rugby), Alex Lozowski (Saracens), Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs), Ben Youngs (Leicester Tigers)

Forwards:

Tom Curry (Sale Sharks), Nathan Hughes (Wasps), Maro Itoje (Saracens), George Kruis (Saracens), Joe Launchbury (Wasps), Courtney Lawes (Northampton Saints), Chris Robshaw (Harlequins), Sam Underhill (Bath Rugby) Dan Cole (Leicester Tigers), Ellis Genge (Leicester Tigers), Jamie George (Saracens), Dylan Hartley (Northampton Saints), Mako Vunipola (Saracens), Harry Williams (Exeter Chiefs)

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