Willi Heinz gives variety but is time up for Ben Te’o? The England squad’s hits and misses

England Media Access

England head coach Eddie Jones has announced his 31-man squad for the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Here, we take a look at the hits and misses of his selection.

HITS

Ruaridh McConnochie: The 27-year-old Bath wing is Jones’ solitary uncapped player for their World Cup mission in Japan. A former England Sevens star, who helped Great Britain win a silver medal at the Rio Olympics three years ago, he possesses lightning pace and is a prolific try-scorer.

Piers Francis: Northampton centre Francis joined the Saints from Super Rugby franchise Auckland Blues, having moved to New Zealand in 2009. A Saracens academy product, who also played for Waikato and Doncaster, he made his England debut against Argentina in 2017. Also offers Jones another fly-half option behind World Cup captain Owen Farrell and George Ford.

Willi Heinz: The 32-year-old Gloucester scrum-half was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, and after impressing for his club, he was handed an England debut in Sunday’s World Cup warm-up clash against Wales at Twickenham, when Jones also made him vice-captain. He relished the occasion and delivered an assured display.

MISSES

Ben Te’o: Former Worcester centre Te’o was involved in an altercation with squad colleague Mike Brown during England’s recent training camp in Italy and not considered for the Wales warm-up encounter. Te’o, a British and Irish Lions Test player in New Zealand two years ago, has now been left out of the World Cup by Jones. At 32, his Test career appears to be over.

Ben Spencer: Highly-rated Saracens number nine Spencer has missed out on World Cup selection, with Jones surprisingly opting to take only two recognised scrum-halves in Heinz and Ben Youngs. Spencer enjoyed an outstanding season during Saracens’ march to a European and Premiership double last season, but he will not be heading to Japan.

Harry Williams: Exeter tighthead prop Williams has been an England match-day regular since making his Test debut in 2017. Often used off the bench, he has provided impressive impact. He also helped Exeter clinch the Premiership title two years ago, and he is an integral part of a powerful Chiefs pack, but Jones can find no place for him in his World Cup squad.

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