Jones names uncapped Umaga in 6N squad

Rugby

Wasps’ uncapped fly-half Jacob Umaga has earned a call up to England men’s Six Nations squad ahead of Saturday’s match against Italy in Rome.

The match concludes the tournament for both sides, which was halted earlier in the year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

England boss Eddie Jones has named Umaga in the party alongside his Wasps teammate Jack Willis, who was named both RPA Player of the Year and Gallagher Premiership Player of the Season.

In total Jones has named nine uncapped players in the 36-man squad with Ollie Lawrence, Max Malins, Ollie Thorley, Umaga, Tom Dunn, Jonny Hill, Beno Obano, David Ribbans and Willis all included.

England had their warm-up match against the Barbarians cancelled as 12 players in the invitational side broke coronavirus protocols, but Jones’ team will head to Rome knowing they need a bonus point victory to keep their hopes of winning the Six Nations alive.

Luke Cowan-Dickie, Ali Crossdale, Courtney Lawes, Jack Nowell, Manu Tuilagi and Mark Wilson are unavailable due to injury.

Elliot Daly, George Ford and Joe Marler will also join the squad for “reconditioning” according to the RFU and are not expected to be fit to face Italy.

“We have to put our best foot forward if we want to win the Six Nations,” Jones said. “We need to set the tone of the game and we want to put a smile on fans’ faces, a lot of people are enduring hardships and we are grateful for the opportunity to represent England in these difficult times.

“We were obviously disappointed with the postponement of the Barbarians game but we moved to plan B, had a highly competitive training session instead of the match and now we are fully focused on the Italy game and the goal of winning the Six Nations.

“It was a tough squad to pick and I know there are a number of disappointed players that have just missed out. We’ve got a good balance between experience and inexperience.

“With nine players out injured, it does create some opportunities for the younger guys to show what they can do. We’re very happy with what we’ve seen in the mini-camps and the Barbarians’ training week, it’s been really competitive.”

England squad

Forwards

Tom Curry, Tom Dunn, Ben Earl, Charlie Ewels, Ellis Genge, Jamie George, Jonny Hill, Ted Hill, Maro Itoje, Joe Launchbury, Lewis Ludlam, Beno Obano, David Ribbans, Jack Singleton, Kyle Sinckler, Will Stuart, Sam Underhill, Billy Vunipola, Mako Vunipola, Harry Williams, Jack Willis

Backs

Joe Cokanasiga, Owen Farrell, George Furbank, Willi Heinz, Jonathan Joseph, Ollie Lawrence, Max Malins, Joe Marchant, Jonny May, Dan Robson, Henry Slade, Ollie Thorley, Jacob Umaga, Anthony Watson, Ben Youngs

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