Eddie Jones has axed 10 players from England's 2015 Rugby World Cup humiliation in his first squad for the upcoming Six Nations championship. The Australian coach has named seven uncapped players, while the likes of Dylan Hartley, Manu Tuilagi and Chris Ashton return to the fold after missing the showcase tournament.
Josh Beaumont, Jack Clifford, Elliot Daly, Ollie Devoto, Sam Hill, Paul Hill and Maro Itoje are the untested faces but the headlines centre around a series of high-profile omissions. The overlooking of hooker Tom Youngs is the biggest talking point, while the likes of Tom Wood, Brad Barritt and Geoff Parling are all dropped.
Danny Cipriani has been overlooked following an impressive run of form for Sale, as is Wasps' Joe Simpson as Jones opts to go with two specialists players at scrum-half and fly-half. Tuilagi does return however after being suspended until the start of 2016 but he is unavailable for the Six Nations opener against Scotland due to injury. Hartley resumes his international career also after suspension.
Matt Kvesic, Henry Thomas, Devoto and Hill are included as injury replacements for Dave Ewers, Kieran Brookes, Tuilagi and Henry Slade. England kick-off their Six Nations campaign against Scotland on 6 February before matches in Italy and France sandwich home games at Twickenham against Ireland and Wales.
"We have selected a squad of players who we think can go to Murrayfield and win," Jones said. "This is our number one priority, to start with a win, so we have picked a squad which is a mix of experience and potential.
"The long-term strategy for England is to develop a side who can be the most dominant team in world rugby, so we have chosen a lot of new players on the growth we see in them. 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.
"I have spoken to some of the players who have not been selected. Naturally they will be disappointed and that is how it should be. They know what they need to do to get back into this squad. The door is not shut for anyone. There is no such thing as a shut door because of injuries and loss of form. There will always be opportunities to anyone playing consistently well in the Premiership and Europe."
"We will be without Manu Tuilagi for the Scotland game but we will continue to work with Leicester Tigers and Manu and see where he is as the Six Nations progresses. With big European weekends ahead, there may be further changes once we assess the fitness of the players. I am really excited about working with England and together with Steve [Borthwick] and Paul [Gustard] we hope to build a team that will reflect the level of talent that exists within the English game."
England elite player squad for Six Nations in full
Forwards: Josh Beaumont, Dan Cole, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Jack Clifford, Jamie George, Dylan Hartley, James Haskell, Paul Hill, Maro Itoje, George Kruis, Matt Kvesic, Joe Launchbury, Courtney Lawes, Joe Marler, Matt Mullan, Chris Robshaw, Henry Thomas, Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola.
Backs: Chris Ashton, Mike Brown, Danny Care, Elliot Daly, Ollie Devoto, Owen Farrell, George Ford, Alex Goode, Sam Hill, Jonathan Joseph, Jack Nowell, Anthony Watson, Marland Yarde, Ben Youngs.