Nowell Six Nations squad omission due to ankle surgery

By Tom Webber 21 January 2020 5
Nowell Six Nations squad omission due to ankle surgery

Jack Nowell missed out on a place in England's Six Nations squad as he is set to undergo ankle surgery.

Eddie Jones on Monday named eight uncapped players in a 34-man squad that did not include versatile Exeter Chiefs back Nowell.

Exeter revealed via Twitter the 26-year-old, like team-mate Henry Slade, was not deemed fit enough to feature in the tournament despite playing in the European Champions Cup victory over La Rochelle on Saturday.

Nowell recovered from an ankle operation to play in the Rugby World Cup last year, but the Chiefs confirmed he will go under the knife again.

Centre Slade is recovering from a broken leg sustained against Leicester Tigers in December.

They are two of 10 players from the England squad that reached the World Cup final in Japan to miss out, with Billy Vunipola (broken arm) among those not available due to injury.

England begin their Six Nations campaign away to France on February 2 and it will be Steve Borthwick's final tournament as part of Jones' backroom staff.

Assistant coach Borthwick will leave at the end of the season and could be on his way to Leicester Tigers.

Jason Ryles has agreed to take over as skills coach in November, bringing an end to his time as assistant coach of NRL side Melbourne Storm.

Jones said: "I have had a great seven years with Steve. He is a loyal, hard-working and analytical coach but I understand he needs now to get out on his own following this campaign. He's made that decision and we are really pleased for him. 

"One of my roles has been to develop English coaches and so it has been great to see coaches leave this programme to further their careers with the likes of Paul Gustard at Harlequins and Neal Hatley at Bath Rugby. We have put three good young coaches back into the system." 

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Tom Webber