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Billy Vunipola left out as Steve Borthwick names England Six Nations squad

Steve Borthwick has included five uncapped players in his first England Six Nations squad with Dan Cole and Ben Earl returning but Billy Vunipola, Jonny May and Jack Nowell have been omitted.

England open their championship versus Scotland on Feb. 4 at Twickenham and Borthwick has put his stamp on the team after he replaced Eddie Jones as head coach of the national team in December.

Vunipola, May and Nowell are the main casualties while Joe Cokanasiga also misses out. But there is a recall for Cole, who last featured for England in the 2019 Rugby World Cup final.

Borthwick has named five uncapped players in Fin Smith, Ollie Hassell-Collins, George McGuigan, Cadan Murley and Jack Walker. With Luke Cowan-Dickie injured, Walker or McGuigan will likely make their Test debut versus Scotland.

Borthwick’s 36-man squad also includes recalls for Ben Curry, Alex Dombrandt, Nick Isiekwe, Elliot Daly, Dan Kelly, Max Malins and Joe Marchant. But there is no spot for Anthony Watson who is sidelined with injury.

Owen Farrell has been named captain despite serving a three-match suspension for a dangerous tackle.

The RFU said on Saturday he will be available for the Scotland match having seen out the ban at Saracens.

Ellis Genge and Courtney Lawes have been named vice-captains.

“This is an exciting squad, with a blend of Six Nations experience and young talent, and includes players who are in excellent form in the Premiership,” Borthwick said.

“We are all looking forward to the challenges of the Six Nations and we will approach this great tournament with a spirit of courage and total commitment.

“I know the players can’t wait to get back to Twickenham and give our fans a performance they can be proud of. The hard work for the Scotland game starts now.”

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