Eddie Jones has named 12 uncapped players, including the 19-year-old Gloucester back-row forward Jack Clement, in a training squad to prepare for England’s forthcoming autumn Tests. The Saracens’ winger Ali Crossdale and the South African-born Simon Kerrod and David Ribbans have also been picked.
Clement only made his Premiership debut in August and has started just three league games but will now find himself training alongside Owen Farrell, Billy and Mako Vunipola, Maro Itoje and Jamie George at a three-day camp at the Lensbury Club commencing on Tuesday. Players from clubs still involved in the closing stages of the Premiership and Europe are unavailable.
It is still a genuine opportunity for the likes of the Halifax-born Crossdale and a number of up-and-coming forwards to impress the national management. The Harlequins tight head prop, Kerrod, was born in Johannesburg and grew up in South Africa but his father is English while Ribbans, the forceful Northampton lock, is now qualified via residency.
The uncapped Leicester front-rower Joe Heyes and Gloucester flanker Lewis Ludlow are also in the squad, along with Quins’ number eight Alex Dombrandt and his club-mate Nathan Earle. Leicester’s Ben Youngs, hoping to reach a century of Test caps this autumn, remains in the scrum-half mix along with Gloucester’s Willi Heinz.
England have six upcoming fixtures, starting against the Barbarians on 25 October. They are then due to head to Rome to meet Italy on 31 October before taking part in the Autumn Nations Cup. “Our preparation to build the team for the Italy game starts now,” said Jones. “We’ll be slowly building up, working on the basics and working on team cohesion. We’re excited to be back together in camp representing England. This autumn we want to play for the fans and give them something to smile about.”
An updated squad will be confirmed ahead of England’s next training camp, due to take place from 15-17 October.