Jonny Wilkinson, who struck an extra-time field goal to deny Australia in the 2003 Rugby World Cup final, has been involved in England’s final training session.
England coach Eddie Jones has left experienced centre Ben Te’o out of his 31-man Rugby World Cup squad and included uncapped winger Ruaridh McConnochie instead.
England head coach Eddie Jones is refusing to discuss the reasons behind the omission of Ben Te’o from the 31-man squad named for the Rugby World Cup.
The 32-year-old centre was overlooked in favour of Northampton’s Piers Francis, two weeks after being involved in a scuffle with teammate Mike Brown during a social event at the squad’s training camp in Treviso.
Jones would not disclose the reasons behind any of the players left out of his squad, insisting that they all need to be prepared to answer the call if injuries occur.
“I’m not going to go into reasons why he (Te’o) was not selected,” Jones said at a press conference.
“We have had that conversation with Ben, he understands it. Whether he agrees with us or not is another matter. He’s not in our top 31 players at the moment.
“Obviously a number of very disappointed players. We feel for them. They’ve worked hard and they are excellent players.
“The message we have for them is that they have still got to be ready because the circumstances of the World Cup dictates that you have injuries. They could have opportunities down the track.”
Former sevens specialist Ruaridh McConnochie continues a remarkable year by being present as the only uncapped player on the strength of a strong end to the season for Bath.
Flanker Lewis Ludlam, hooker Jack Singleton and scrum-half Willi Heinz made their debuts in Sunday’s rout of Wales and are also picked.
“Firstly I think it’s always nice to bring new blood in, it always freshens things up,” Jones added.
“When you have that enthusiasm as young players it adds to the squad.
“Ruaridh we’ve been watching quite closely through the club season. I was impressed by him. He’s a very good worker, a very good communicator, mature boy, can play a number of positions. He was a pretty easy selection in the end.
“Lewis came from nowhere. We watched him in club rugby, he’d done particularly well and we thought we’d roll the dice and bring him into camp to see what he could offer. Every week he got a little bit better.”
Forwards: Dan Cole, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Tom Curry, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Lewis Ludlam, Joe Marler, Kyle Sinckler, Jack Singleton, Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola, Mark Wilson.
Backs: Joe Cokanasiga, Elliot Daly, Owen Farrell, George Ford, Piers Francis, Willi Heinz, Jonathan Josep, Jonny May, Ruaridh McConnochie, Jack Nowell, Henry Slade, Manu Tuilagi, Anthony Watson, Ben Youngs.